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Introduction . . v 

I. The Chinese People i 

II. China and Religion 37 

III. Government and Administration 55 

IV. Chinese Democracy 89 

V. The Native Press 107 

VI. The New Learning i^J^ 

VII. Foreign Relations 138 

VIII. Diplomatic Intercourse 173 

IX. The Geographic Question 200 

X. The Economic Problem ^,.,.22^ 

XI. Communications 236 

XII. China and the Powers 251 

XIII. Whither, China? 279 


(1) Railways 291 

(2) Glossary of Terms 294 

(3) Imperial Budget for 1911 ...... . 297 

(4) Foreign Loans of China 298 

Index 299 


Treaty Ports and Railways 290 

China, Japan, and Korea end 


The first edition of China in Transformation 
appeared in 1898, at a time when signs of renascence 
were obvious only to those who had the opportunity 
to look below the surface. The author's first inten- 
tion in bringing out the present edition was merely 
to preserve those parts which appear to have a 
permanent value, but in practice it was found 
difficult to adhere to this, and the result is a book, 
of which many chapters are strictly new, while all 
have been carefully revised and brought up to date. 

If it appears that rather undue proportion is 
given to the history of the middle of last century, 
and especially to the diplomatic and commercial 
relations of that period, it must be explained that the 
material for this was obtained by the author in 
1897 from original sources no longer available 
either to the student or the general reader. For 
this reason, this portion has only been slightly cur- 
tailed, in order to fit into the general perspective. 

As the original edition, though fourteen years old, 
has never ceased to circulate, notwithstanding the 
great nimiber of books on China which succeeded it, 
it is hoped that the present work, which is really a 
new China in Transformation, will meet the need for 
a simple, yet not ephemeral, description and estimate 



of a country and people destined, before long, to 
be counted among the great world-powers. It may 
interest readers to know that this work has exer- 
cised some little influence on the Chinese reform 
movement. Dr. Sun Yat Sen, at present leader of 
the Republican party in China, informed the writer 
that he was seldom without a copy, having, in his 
wanderings, purchased as many as fifteen for him- 
self and his friends. 

The author has to acknowledge his indebtedness 
to several old China friends for help in revising the 
proofs, to Mr. H. B. Morse's Trade and Administra- 
tion oj the Chinese Empire — a valuable study — and 
to the China Year Book, 191 2, which is a mine of 
information on a variety of subjects. 





THE manners and customs of the Chinese, and 
their social characteristics, have employed many 
pens and many tongues, and will continue to furnish 
an inexhaustible field for students of sociology, of 
religion, of philosophy, of civilization, for centuries 
to come. Such studies, however, scarcely touch the 
province of the practical, at least as yet, for one 
principal reason — that the subject is so vast, the data 
are so infinite as to overwhelm the student rather 
than assist him to sound generalizations. Writers 
on this theme may be classified more easily than the 
subjects on which they write. Two groups at least 
are sufficiently distinct to admit of being labeled: 
the censorious and the picturesque. Both approach 
Chinese portraiture with a bias which distorts their 
pictures. The one set go up and down among this 
great people with a Diogenes lantern, and fail to find 
any good thing in them. They are weighed in the 



balance against other nations, notably the Japanese, 
and are found wanting/ Their virtues are vices, 
their customs odious, their religions abomination, and 
all their practices brand them as a lost race. These 
catalogues of vileness recall a class of advertisements, 
now very common, which from a tale of unutterable 
woe lead up to a sovereign remedy. 

The second class of writers seek, legitimately 
enough for their own purpose, to catch the excres- 
cences of Chinese life, with a view to caricature, and 
through their exertions the European public is pos- 
sessed of a series of impressions which, though true 
in themselves, are out of setting, and, for want of a 
natural background, constitute distorted pictures. 
A few philosophical observers like Sir John Davis and 
Taylor Meadows address serious readers, but are 
little known, though they are most authentic. The 
Abbe Hue touched with an artist's pen the dry bones 
and made them live. Dr. Williamson has left us 
many sound and practical observations. But the 
reading public of our day are chiefly indebted to the 
two American missionary writers Justus Doolittle 
and Arthur H. Smith for the most laudable attempts 
to cover the whole range of Chinese life, the one 
relating with great circumstantiality of detail the 
social customs of the Chinese, and the other their 

^ "The sickly praises lavished by passing travelers upon Japan 
and her fitful civilizations; the odious comparisons drawn by super- 
ficial observers to the disparagement of China, of her slowly-chang- 
ing institutions, and of her massive national characteristics; these 
are gall and wormwood to all who know under whose tuition it 
was that Japan first learned to read, to write, and to think." — 
Gems of Chinese Literature, by Herbert A. Giles. 



moral and mental characteristics.^ That these two 
conscientious writers have done their best to repress 
natural prejudices cannot be doubted; and that one 
of them has succeeded, at least in his second edition, 
may be readily admitted, which is the more creditable 
since it is obvious that the very raison d'etre of the 
Christian missionary would be gone if the Chinese 
were acknowledged to be a nation of exemplary livers ; 
for they that are whole need not the physician. One 
may especially commend Mr. Smith as at once terse 
and fascinating, calm and cultured: his modest 
volumes^ bear the impress of accurate original ob- 
servation in every line. Readers whose tastes in- 
cline them to follow up this interesting subject will 
thus find abundant food for reflection in the recorded 
observations of a host of writers from the early 
Jesuits, whose works have borne the test of two or 
three centuries of subsequent experience, down to 
the shoal of ephemeral paragraphists and photog- 
raphers of our own day. This is not the place either 
for abridged discussion or for summarizing con- 
clusions on questions which do not fall within the 
scope of the present volume. Only one observation 
need be made which ought to be borne in mind, 
alike in judging of their traditional customs and of 
their potential efficiency in the life of to-day. The 

^ Though hundreds of books have appeared in the last fifteen 
years, some of them containing clever and picturesque studies of 
various phases of Chinese life, the writer has read nothing to alter 
this estimate of the best authorities on Chinese character. Of 
recent descriptive books he would place first Mr. Johnston's Lion 
and Dragon in Northern China, which contains valuable side-lights 
on characteristics. 

' Chinese Characteristics and Village Life in China. 



two great facts which differentiate the Chinese from 
every other people of whom we have any knowledge 
are their unprecedented mass and their unprece- 
dented duration. Without discussing the causes of 
one or the other feature, the bare facts are there, 
staring us in the face, and they surely explain much 
that strikes the foreigner as paradoxical. There 
has never been any such accumulated experience in 
the world's history; never such accumulation of 
custom, of ceremonial, of superstition. The early 
contemporaries of China have all fallen to pieces, 
some of them many times, and the continuity of 
tradition has been broken. But if we, instead of 
gathering their social history painfully from pots- 
herds, or paintings on tombs, or their religion from 
survivals of poetical mythology, found the Assyrians, 
Babylonians, ancient Egyptians, and ancient Greeks 
alive at the present day, should we not expect to 
find the same maze of folk-lore as in China, the same 
confused and contradictory superstitions, layer upon 
layer, survivals from the oldest mingling with the 
newest accretions? The product resulting from 
duration multiplied by numbers must be immense, 
and if to that we add a third factor — isolation — we 
have no right to be surprised either at the complex 
character of Chinese civilization or at its peculiarly 
conservative form. Indeed, whatever may have been 
the cause of the long life of the nation has probably 
also been the cause of its crystallization. And that 
is what gives so hazardous a character to all inno- 
vations forced on China from without. 

Leaving aside, for the moment, all these specula- 
tive questions, it may be profitable and practicable 



to consider in what relation the Chinese people 
stand to the outward and work-a-day world of our 
own time. What part are they capable of playing 
in the drama of mechanical progress, in which they 
are left no option but to join? To arrive at a just 
opinion on this subject it will be better to consider 
the Chinese from the point of view of their likeness 
to ourselves, rather than from that of their unlike- 
ness, which is the picturesque view. No nation can 
be fairly judged by its books, for there will always 
be a gulf fixed between aspiration and achievement, 
between the maxims of the study and the manners 
of the forum. For practical purposes we must take 
the Chinaman of real life, of active life. We have 
known him intimately for over sixty years — a cycle 
of Cathay — and can speak of his doings, if not of 
his thinkings. His predominant quality, that which 
marks the Chinese as a race, whether at home or 
abroad, is, beyond doubt, his industry. He has 
almost a passion for labor: in search of it he com- 
passes sea and land. He seems born to be the hewer 
of wood and drawer of water for humanity, but not 
as a slave. The Chinaman is a merchant and sells 
his labor for a price. 

In those countries where the race is persecuted it 
is his industry which offends, because it competes 
with the desultory work of white men, who deem 
themselves entitled to dissipate half their time. 
Combined with the appetite for hard work, the 
Chinaman has two highly important qualities — 
docility and temperance. The latter enables him 
to profit by a double economy — that of time and 
that of money; the former enables him to "stoop 
2 5 


to conquer." There is, indeed, no end to this 
patience. He is content to exploit worked-out 
claims for an infinitesimal gain, and as ready to be 
kicked out whenever it pleases his superior white 
brother to come along and "jump" them. A 
valuable agent is the Chinaman, therefore, for 
sweeping up the ''tailings" of human industry. 

He demands no comfort, still less luxury; but, 
though he can do with rough and scanty fare, he 
never starves his body when he can afford nutritious, 
well-cooked food. For sentiment, as we understand 
the term, the Chinaman has no sympathy. His 
outward life is conducted on a ''cash basis," so 
much so that when wages are very low he will some- 
times strike a balance between work and food, cal- 
culating that, as a certain amount of exertion will 
necessitate so much food, the game may not always 
be worth the candle. He works outrageously long 
hours with very moderate inducement; the clink 
of the artisan's hammer and the whir of the spindle 
are heard in the streets at all hours of the night, and 
the dawn finds the laborer already at work. The 
faculty of endurance and of patience is well evinced 
to foreigners in such occupations as domestic service 
and nursing, in both of which capacities the China- 
man excels. However late the master or mistress 
may come home, the servants are in waiting, and are 
as ready for a call in the early morning as if they 
had had twelve hours' good sleep. As nurses China- 
men are quiet, light-handed, and indefatigable; 
no need, with them, to reckon day and night shifts; 
such snatches of sleep as can be picked up at odd 
moments satisfy them. 



In addition to robust muscularity the Chinese 
physique is endowed with great refinement. Their 
hands and feet are well made, and the fingers are 
remarkable for suppleness and delicacy of touch. 
Their skill in the minutest kinds of handicraft, 
such as intricate carving in wood or ivory, minia- 
ture painting, and fine embroidery, are well known; 
and when European manufactures are introduced 
into China they will find no lack of the manual 
dexterity needed for the most delicate productions. 
Ample experience has shown the aptitude of Chinese 
artisans and mechanicians to fabricate in wood and 
metal, and to become experts in the use of labor- 
saving machinery. Not only in workshops and 
building-yards has the skill of their artificers been 
tested and approved, but in the responsible posi- 
tions of engine-drivers on steamboats and loco- 
motives, under proper training, the Chinese are 
found to answer all requirements. 

The intellectual capacity of the Chinese may 
rank with the best in Western countries. Their 
own literary studies, in which memory plays the 
important part, prove the nation to be capable of 
prodigious achievements in that direction. It is 
stated in Macaulay's Lije that had Paradise Lost 
been destroyed, he could have reproduced it from 
memory. But even such a power of memory as he 
possessed is small compared with that of many 
Chinese, who can repeat by heart all the thirteen 
classics ; and it is as nothing to that of some Chinese 
who, in addition to being able to repeat the classics, 
can memorize a large part of the general literature 
of their country. A Chinese acquaintance of mine 



was able, at the age of sixty-five, to reproduce 
verbatim letters received by him in his youth from 
some of his literary friends famous as stylists. 
When pitted against European students in school 
or college, the Chinese is in no respect inferior to his 
Western contemporaries, and, whether in mathe- 
matics and applied science or in metaphysics and 
speculative thought, he is capable of holding his 
own against all competitors. 

In considering the future of the Chinese race, there- 
fore, we have this enormous double fund of capacity 
to reckon with — capacity of muscle and capacity 
of brain; and we have only to imagine the quanti- 
tative value of such an aggregate of nervous force 
when brought into vital contact with the active 
spirit and the mechanical and mental appliances of 
the West, to picture to ourselves a future for China 
which will astonish and may appal the world. 

But, while there are here the elements of an im- 
mense subordinate success — the success of mus- 
cular and intellectual force directed by a master — 
it does not follow, and there are many to be found 
who will deny that the Chinese can ever play the 
leading role. Experience, it must be admitted, so 
far as it goes, gives its verdict against this, though 
the verdict is by no means final; and it is to be 
noted that Dr. Pearson, in his learned and well- 
thought-out work on ''National Character and 
Development," ignores altogether the assumed dis- 
ability of the Chinese to cope with the creative 
genius of the world. In favor of Dr. Pearson's 
hypothesis of the latent power of the Chinese race 
their mere numbers are a telling fact, since, if the 



percentage of original, initiating, and directing 
minds among them were but a tithe of that of the 
Caucasian races, it would constitute them a real 
energizing force in the future progress of the world; 
and, though the modern Chinese copy, and do not 
originate, may there not be in them, nevertheless, 
a latent talent which is waiting for favorable cir- 
cumstances to cause it to blossom into action? 
That they possessed creative power in the past 
cannot be doubted. Before answering the question, 
however, we should have to solve a few preliminary 
ones, as, for instance, the true cause of Chinese 
stagnation and of the sameness of their life routine. 

Here, however, it may be appropriate to indicate 
briefly some traits of character and effects of heredi- 
tary training which militate against their success in 
the pursuits which have built up the power of the 
modern Christian States. Only a few of the more 
obvious need be noted. One is universally acknowl- 
edged : it is the indifference to truth, as such. A lie 
is no disgrace; it is only disgraceful not to put a 
good "face" on things. Combine these two ideas, 
and the natural result is universal mistrust, which 
places co-operation, without which even a pin cannot 
be economically made, largely out of the question. 
The entire absence of natural science and of any 
definiteness of conception or arrangement in mat- 
ters not rigidly prescribed by traditional etiquette 
coincides with the unconsciousness of the value of 
accuracy; but the question is whether the general 
introduction of science as part of the educational 
curriculum, followed by its extensive application 
to the business of life, will not cure this radical de- 



feet in the moral equipment of the nation. That 
such a result would be, at the least, a protracted 
affair, the most sanguine can hardly doubt, nor will 
the process be rendered the more easy by the fact 
that the Chinese have discovered certain working 
substitutes for factual truth. Meadows has pointed 
out that personal probity is not relied upon, because 
the business of life, mercantile and domestic, is 
carried on under a chain of guarantees, infidelity 
to which is of very rare occurrence. In a general 
reform of the code of honor, this time-honored 
institution would have to be uprooted, rendering 
the whole operation doubly difficult, except as a 
result of protracted evolution. But, as an offset 
against a chain of reasoning based upon experience 
in other countries, we are bound to confess that 
China is a country where one can never argue from 
premises. Seventy years of dealing with them may 
convince us that co-operative trading is impossible 
for the Chinese, and then comes the astonishing 
experience of the Commercial Press, as told in the 
chapter on "The New Learning." 

Closely allied with untruthfulness is the loose- 
ness of conscience in the handling of money. The 
process known as ''robbing Peter to pay Paul," of 
patching a hole by a piece cut out of the garment, 
forms a part of the Chinese practice, from the Throne 
downward. Even in the returns of the imperial 
revenue the authorities seem to prefer that deduc- 
tions be made from disbursements before remit- 
tances are forwarded, rather than that the full 
revenue be shown on one side of the account and the 
full expenditure on the other. Such a system in- 



vites peculation, which is carried on wholesale 
throughout every government department. The 
shifty tendency pervades every relation of life; 
shameless malversation is tolerated as a mere pec- 
cadillo where a breach of filial etiquette would be 
punishable as a crime. With such a code of finan- 
cial morality it would, apparently, be impossible to 
develop joint-stock enterprise, for no confidence 
would be felt in the integrity of the management, 
and yet in Hongkong, Singapore, and Tientsin 
such enterprises are now being successfully con- 
ducted. Mines do not pay the proprietors because 
the laborers pilfer the production; cotton-factories 
because the mill-hands carry off the raw material, 
stowed away in their clothes; railways, under 
native management, eat up the capital provided 
without any appreciable advance to completion. 
The most important Chinese companies are machines 
for wholesale misappropriation of funds, a state of 
things which is always aggravated in cases where 
an official has a hand in the manipulation. While 
such an all-sufficing explanation exists, it seems 
needless to seek for more speculative reasons for the 
want of enterprise of the Chinese, or for the well- 
known fact that they are willing to place their 
funds at low interest with foreign banks rather 
than trust their own countrymen on more tempting 
terms. This preference for foreign security, based 
on foreign integrity, is the principal lever by which 
the commercial, industrial, and financial resources 
of China may hereafter be developed. It is only by 
organized probity that we can compete with the 
Chinese. This is not advanced as a principle^or a 



theory of Chinese morals, but merely as an empirical 
observation, for it is in flat contradiction of other 
facts equally well known. The probity of Chinese 
merchants and bankers has always been proverbial, 
and is no doubt the basis of their success in these 
enterprises. It is a melancholy fact that this high 
standard has suffered by contact with Europe and 
America, but it remains unique in the business 
world. As the Chinese have no separate castes, it 
is hard to account for such apparently contradictory 
phenomena as exceptional fidelity in certain walks 
of life and systematic fraud in others, the line of 
demarcation being, moreover, sharply drawn. 

That some general cause is in operation to produce 
such disparate results seems evident, and the ex- 
planation may possibly be found in the special 
training which is required by different avocations 
and the selection of the men who are to follow them. 
Every profession has its own code of honor and rule 
of practice, and every society its law of self-preserva- 
tion. The deterioration of Chinese commercial mor- 
ality is said to be due to the influx into business of 
a different class of men from those originally engaged 
in what was, after literature, the most honorable 
pursuit in China. Commerce cannot be carried on 
without confidence, and the continuous experience 
of many centuries has burned this law into the 
hearts of those who are enrolled under its banner. 
Natural selection will tend constantly to the re- 
jection of individuals who do not obey the law by 
which alone a commercial community can live, 
and the hereditary principle lends its potent aid 
toward keeping the body pure. Traditions handed 



down from father to son, not so much in formal 
maxims as in daily practice, enter deeply into the 
character; and children follow unconsciously and 
automatically the ways of their fathers and families, 
in contact with whom they have grown up. They 
would find it difficult to do otherwise. 

The different code of honor which prevails in 
official circles, on the other hand, may equally be 
pleaded as a necessity of existence. No govern- 
ment official in China can possibly live on his pay; 
his necessary expenses many times exceed it. What 
is he to do? Immemorial tradition points out the 
way. The ox is not muzzled that treads out the 
corn. Of course, official corruption is an insidious 
poison, not only as affecting the efficiency of the 
public service, but also the personal character of 
the individual. Once admit bribery or malversation 
as a justifiable means of living, and it is impossible 
to draw the line. Necessity soon becomes rapacity, 
and rapacity grows by what it feeds upon. It is 
astonishing that any vestige of character is left in 
men who have graduated in the official school. 
Some, indeed, there are who resist the common 
temptation, and are regarded as a kind of mon- 
strosity of virtue — a sort of ''white elephant" — 
who for this reason may claim unlimited indulgence. 
Such officials must either be themselves wealthy, 
or have wealthy friends, or be financed by some 
shrewd man of business, who manages everything 
behind the back of his principal. 

The danger of new enterprises lies in the circum- 
stance that they fall outside the tradition, and, 
therefore, outside the protection of the professional 



code which is so efficacious within its own sphere. 
If an official personage has any concern in the under- 
taking, his dominant idea is to make it a milch-cow 
for himself; his whole habit of mind would militate 
against his paying any regard to the rights of share- 

Where the commercial morality of the Chinese is 
at its worst is where it comes in contact with West- 
ern legality. They are shown in an unfavorable light 
when, for example, they are called upon to pay up 
calls on their shares in limited companies registered 
abroad. This is one of those cases where their 
tradition fails to support them in a right course, 
the whole thing being alien from their own customs. 
Neither family honor nor public opinion concerns 
itself with such strange devices as foreign legal forms, 
which are as unintelligible to the Chinese as to the 
unlettered peasantry of Europe. There is no 
sanctity attaching to them, and if their terms can 
be successfully evaded, and without prejudicing 
one's interest in other ways, it is considered permis- 
sible, the mere moral sanction counting for little. 

Rectitude of conduct between man and man is 
secured among themselves in an entirely different 
manner; everything is regulated by custom, which 
possesses greater vitality than judge-made or statute- 
made law. A mercantile contract, for example, 
drawn up and signed, is held of quite secondary 
validity; but if bargain-money has been paid is it 
unimpugnable, and bargain-money without the 
paper is of greater efficacy than the paper without 
bargain-money. It is not, therefore, to be expected 
that a people living and moving in such an atmos- 



phere of tradition and custom should adapt them- 
selves easily to the machinery of foreign legislation, 
which in its subject-matter is necessarily altogether 
uncouth to their ideas, varies more or less in each 
nationality with which they have to deal, and is 
subject to change in each new session of some 
foreign parliament which to them has not even 
the consistency of a myth. 

''Respect for the law," as a virtue of civilized 
peoples, cannot apply to exotic regulations which 
are alien in their nature as well as in their source. 
The sentiment bred in the bone of the Chinese 
people is not respect, but reverence for law; it is 
more than religion to them. But the foreign manu- 
factured article is as strange god introduced into 
their pantheon; it takes no hold of their moral 
sense. The whole attitude of the Chinese toward 
this kind of law, therefore, differs fundamentally 
from that of the peoples of the West, and this should 
be taken into account by all who have business with 
the people of China. The Chinese look to quite 
other safeguards in commercial dealings than do 
Englishmen, who have always a solicitor at their 
elbow and learned counsel to consult on every clause 
and shade of meaning of a contract. In the first 
place, the Chinese merchant or banker places no 
reliance whatever on litigation, but takes his meas- 
ures as if there were no such thing to fall back upon. 
His first line of defense against fraud or misunder- 
standing is to select his clientele on the most rigid 
principle, and deal only with men of known charac- 
ter and untainted connections, in such a manner as 
to be able to follow them into all the transactions 



they may undertake. It is this perfect mutual 
knowledge which cements the confidence between 
men of business; and the customs, which are better 
known to them than any legal enactments can 
possibly be to the people of Europe, rule every 
transaction that is doubtful. Written contracts 
have scarcely any place in the Chinese system, 
whereas they are the very essence of ours. Our 
jurists place the verbal construction of an agree- 
ment before everything, while in China the whole 
stress is laid on the obvious and reasonable inten- 
tion of the parties; the one regards only the docu- 
mentary contract, the other the thing contracted 
for. The difference between the two points of view 
is almost irreconcilable, and it is as erroneous for us 
to test Chinese equity by means of our standard 
as for the Chinese to judge us wanting in good faith 
because we take advantage of a technicality to avoid 
a disadvantageous obligation. The moral to be 
drawn from this state of things would seem to be 
that each party should take the other on its own 
ground — that foreigners should rely on Chinese 
time-consecrated sanctions to bind the Chinese 
commercial conscience, and that the Chinese should 
trust foreigners only so far as they can have written 
contracts signed, sealed, and delivered. 

An element of distrust between Chinese and for- 
eigners — which is really a phase of that natural in- 
stinct of resting on the substance and not on the 
form — is the looseness and disregard of punctuality 
which characterize the Chinese. Except in banking 
transactions, time with them has not the same 
recognized value as it has to us, and their habits 



are easier and more slovenly. This leads to irrita- 
tion, and sometimes needless suspicion, when an 
important engagement is not kept, and when either 
no excuse is thought necessary or the most ridiculous 
reasons are given. Much should be allowed for mere 
habit in such matters, and a great deal more for the 
complex life Chinamen lead. It is alleged against 
them that they are superstitious, but it is scarcely 
possible for a foreigner to conceive how completely 
their lives are enveloped in cobwebs of necromancy, 
geomancy, witchcraft, animal - worship, luck, evil 
eye, and a thousand influences which seem to us 
grotesque and childish. This is a natural result of 
the long duration of the people, which has permitted 
the accretions of three thousand years to be preserved 
in a gigantic accumulation, whereas the primitive be- 
liefs and folk-lore of Western peoples have been 
broken up by their migrations, wars, and com- 
motions. Almost every conceivable action of a 
Chinaman's life is prescribed by a minute etiquette 
which no one dreams of disregarding. Being un- 
intelligible to foreigners, this necessarily creates 
friction in their mutual relations. But in addition 
to this the Chinese, even the most reasonable and 
most practical, are under the dominion of sorcerers 
and fortune-tellers and the reign of ' * luck ' ' to such 
an extent that they are in constant apprehension 
of doing or saying things at the wrong time, the 
wrong place, in the wrong way, or in company 
with the wrong people. A promising combination 
may be spoiled by some occult warning, and a 
Chinaman may often have bad faith imputed to 
him when he is really under the constraint of some 



influence which he dare not avow, and which causes 
him to make a shuffling and mendacious excuse.^ 

What is most mysterious in Chinese ways would 
probably be simple enough if we were in sympathy 
with the explanation. Probably the fundamental 
principle of their national and private life, the family 
idea, if well understood, would supply the key to 
many seeming peculiarities. To dub them idolaters 
because they worship their ancestors is begging 
the question. It were more to the purpose to ex- 
amine into the relationship which is called "wor- 
ship" and see what an important part these ances- 
tors play in Chinese life. Their authority seems to 
be the power which keeps the nation together; 
they are one with their posterity, and the ancestral 
tomb is the family altar. 

The ancestors assist at the family council and 
sanction its proceedings. The effect on the practical 
or business life of the people of the ancestral cult is 
various. The family being the unit of the state, 
there is a collective responsibility for the behavior 
of each member, in consequence of which order is 
kept in every village and city without the super- 
vision of military or police. This alone is no slight 
gain. The family responsibility in financial matters, 
too, gives security in business, for a debt is never 
canceled except by payment, and descends as a 
burden from father to son. A bad side of the system 

1 Foreign-trained Chinese students may escape from some of this 
bondage, though they will find it difficult to evade its influence 
when they return home. But, after all, the foreign-trained man 
is still a minute fraction of the vast population, whose character- 
istics can alter but slowly. 



is the moral obligation which rests on any one who 
is rich to support all the members, for obviously 
such a principle discourages enterprise and industry. 
It stands seriously in the way of material progress, 
for no sooner does a man by his own energy establish 
some promising industry than he is pounced upon by 
all the ne'er-do-wells of his family, who live upon 
him, and whom he is obliged to employ to the ex- 
clusion of useful men, even to the ruin of his enter- 
prise. It is impossible for a Chinaman to emanci- 
pate himself from his family incubus, and the fact 
must be reckoned with in all schemes for co-opera- 
tion with Chinese. 

In all estimates of the social system a practical 
distinction must be made between the Chinese 
people in their individual and their public capacity; 
between their utility as material to be molded and 
managed by others, and their power to organize 
and lead their own forces — industrial, commercial, 
political, and military. In what has gone before, 
the former forces have been glanced at ; we will now 
refer briefly to the latter. 

The Chinese in public life, as we conceive the 
idea, is as yet an unknown quantity. The nation, 
as a whole, does not concern itself with political 
affairs any more than, on the advice of Confucius, 
it concerns itself with theological affairs. The 
popular maxim is that, as the mandarins are paid 
(and pay themselves) for attending to public ad- 
ministration, it is their business to do it, while the 
public cultivates its garden and pays its taxes. 
As this is not a philosophical treatise, we are not 
tempted to speculate on the development of this 



state of feeling, or on its significance, further than 
to make the obvious remark that a faculty that has 
never been used or that has fallen out of use is 
virtually non-existent. We may conclude, accurately 
enough for practical purposes, that public spirit 
has hitherto been an unknown sentiment to the 
Chinese people. To our appreciation the Chinese, as 
a nation, exhibit no patriotism ; but this may be the 
effect of our own prejudice and want of insight into 
the true relation between the subject and object 
of what we call "patriotism." Instances of the 
loftiest and purest devotion are not rare, nor in 
these cases does the ideal appear very different from 
our own. Speaking, however, only of what operates 
on the masses as we see them, and not as they may 
be intrinsically, we should perhaps be justified in 
saying that what represents the feeling of patriotism 
in China is a survival of clannishness, which affects 
small segregated areas — not a provincial or even a 
civic patriotism, but rather a local village spirit 
which on occasion is capable of combining to resist 
extortion or resent interference. It is elsewhere 
shown how this great political vacuum in the 
Chinese social organism is partly supplied by secret 
societies, as in the commercial sphere the juridical 
gap is supplied by trade-guilds. The officials them- 
selves possess their defensive combinations, each 
province having in the capital a society, which we 
call a ''club," where gatherings are held daily to 
discuss public affairs. These clubs are managed 
with considerable strictness, and the very highest 
officials may be expelled when accused of conduct 
derogatory to the character of the society. It is 



interesting to note that the particular offense which 
has led to a sentence of expulsion in conspicu- 
ous cases has been truckling to foreigners." For 
this the most respected and influential official in 
the last two generations, Tseng Kwo Fan, father 
of the late Marquis Tseng, was expelled from the 
Hunan Club in Peking, and many years and many 
sacrifices were required before he could gain read- 
mission. This general, perhaps universal, feeling 
— a most natural and proper feeling, we must admit 
— against foreigners is by some maintained to be the 
only article in the Chinese code which may fitly 
be called patriotic. In 1898, when this book was 
first published, although anti-foreign feeling was 
rapidly growing, it did not appear to have any 
central idea or direction or to lead to common action ; 
but, in the years which have passed since then, 
out of the blind agitation which culminated in the 
Boxer agitation has come a clearer vision of China's 
needs. It is less the foreigner who is blamed by 
the intelligent reformer of to-day than the govern- 
ment, which has made the predatory actions of the 
foreigner possible. "China for the Chinese" be- 
came an anti-dynastic cry as well as anti-foreign, 
and the conduct of the reformers of 1911-12 in 
protecting missionaries and other foreigners shows 
the trend of their policy. 

The events which followed the Boxer rising dissi- 
pated the remains of the atmosphere of semi-religious 
seclusion with which the Throne had been sur- 
rounded, and as a political force the Manchu dy- 
nasty showed itself contemptible. Reverence for 
the Throne undoubtedly exists as the apex of that 
3 21 


great pyramid, the family system, but is rather a 
sublimated religious than a political sentiment. 
There is no vital attachm.ent in it, no loyalty which 
commands sacrifice, and among the officials even 
the genuine feeling of devotion to the Imperial 
service has been absorbed into and dissipated by 
the hyperbolic formulae prescribed for their memo- 
rials and addresses. 

Associated with the political are the military 
sentiments of the Chinese people. There we find 
the same general principle prevailing — that of 
aloofness or indifference. If they ever were warlike, 
the Chinese ceased for very many centuries to be so. 
The nation has survived the military age, and till 
recently the treatises on strategy dated from before 
the Christian era. For a long time, even after they 
had come in contact with the West, the Chinese 
persisted in their contempt for militarism. They 
conceived the superiority of their antagonists to be 
due merely to mechanical devices, and therefore 
supplied themselves with the latest pattern in guns 
and other armaments, without any provision for 
training men. Their defeat at the hands of Japan 
in 1894-95 opened their eyes to the facts, and Yuan 
Shihkai, during the period which followed the 
counter-reform of 1898, actually raised, trained, and 
equipped a respectable modern army. The re- 
organization of the army was initiated by Yuan in 
1902, and a law of military reorganization was 
promulgated in 1905. A national army has been 
established — at least, theoretically — with the view 
of replacing the heterogeneous forces under the 
provincial viceroys, but as yet it is impossible to 



form any accurate estimate of the caliber of the 
troops. They have been distinguished, for the 
most part, by a tendency to mutiny, which is not 
the best of signs. 

The personal courage of Chinese soldiers is usually 
estimated at a low value, but there are extenuating 
and explanatory circumstances. The manner in 
which an old-time Chinese force used to be levied, 
the way it was treated, paid, and led, should excuse 
much in the private soldier. When sent unarmed, 
as they virtually were in the Chino- Japanese War, 
against highly disciplined and well-armed hosts, 
the only sensible thing to be done was to retreat, 
and, as in that movement, at least, their commanders 
could generally be counted on to set a good example, 
they fell back in greater or less disorder before the 
invaders. But when they are paid, fed, disciplined, 
and armed, as was for a time the case in the Chinese 
navy, the men leave little to be desired in the way 
of courage. Even then they need leading. Under 
European officers there was no forlorn hope or 
desperate service for which they would not volunteer, 
and they rallied round the brave Admiral Ting, 
whom they were ready to follow to a heroic death, 
when he was shut in a trap in his own port, Wei- 
hai-wei. It has always been the personal qualities 
of a man, rather than a cause, which attracted the 
Chinese. Gordon could have led them anywhere; 
so, no doubt, could Admiral Ting. It is probably 
a mere question of organization with the Chinese, 
who are apt learners, and are capable of drill and 
discipHne. Confidence will do the rest — confidence 
in their leaders and — in their pay ! 



Chinese Gordon and Lord Wolseley have spoken 
highly of the courage and endurance of the Chinese 
soldier, and an excellent resume of his qualities has 
been given by one who had experience with Gordon's 
* ' Ever Victorious Army. ' ' 

The old notion is pretty well got rid of that they are at 
all a cowardly people, when properly paid and efficiently 
led; while the regularity and order of their habits, which 
dispose them to peace in ordinary times, gives place to a 
daring bordering upon recklessness in time of war. Their 
intelligence and capacity for remembering facts make 
them well fitted for use in modern warfare, as does also 
the coolness and calmness of their disposition. Physically 
they are, on the average, not so strong as Europeans, but 
considerably more so than most of the other races of the 
East; and on a cheap diet of rice, vegetables, salt fish, and 
pork they can go through a vast amount of fatigue, 
whether in a temperate climate or a tropical one, where 
Europeans are ill-fitted for exertion. Their wants are few; 
they have no caste prejudices, and hardly any appetite 
for intoxicating liquors. 

And, according to the Abbe Hue in his Chinese 
Empire, it may not be impossible to find in China 
the elements for organizing the most formidable 
army in the world and for the creation of a navy. 

The Chinese are intelligent, ingenious, and docile. 
They comprehend rapidly whatever they are taught, 
and retain it in their memory. They are persevering, 
and astonishingly active when they choose to exert 
themselves, respectful to authority, submissive and 
obedient, and they would easily accommodate them- 



selves to all the exigencies of the severest discipline. 
The Chinese possess also a quality most precious in 
soldiers, and which can scarcely be found as well developed 
among any other people — namely, an incomparable 
facility for supporting privations of every kind. We 
have often been astonished to see how they will bear 
hunger, thirst, heat, cold, the difficulties, and fatigues of 
a long march, as if it were mere play. Thus, both morally 
and physically, they seem capable of meeting every 
demand. China would present also inexhaustible re- 
sources for a navy. Without speaking of the vast extent 
of her coasts, along which the numerous population pass 
the greater part of their lives on the sea, the great rivers 
and immense lakes in the interior, always covered with 
fishing and trading junks, might furnish multitudes of 
men, habituated from their infancy to navigation, nimble, 
experienced, and capable of becoming excellent sailors 
for long expeditions. 

Distinction may be justly drawn between the 
populations of different parts of the vast Empire. 
The people of Honan are known for their indepen- 
dence. The Cantonese have always been of a 
daring character, which for many years, unfortu- 
nately, expended itself in wholesale piracy on the 
coast. The natives of Shantung, however, where the 
Germans have established themselves, and whose 
overflow has peopled the rich lands of Manchuria, 
enjoy the finest record for both physical and moral 
qualities. It was from them the Chinese navy 
drew its best recruits; it is they who have proved 
their prowess either as brigands or as self-reliant 
and self-defended exploiters of the resources of 
Liaotung and Manchuria. 



When all is said, however, it must still be con- 
ceded that it is not military or scientific or political, 
but commercial genius that has characterized the 
Chinese in the past, and is, therefore, most likely 
to distinguish them in the future. They are the 
original, true, and only real shopkeepers, and in 
every position of life, even the farthest removed 
from the atmosphere of commerce, the Chinese may 
be said to think in money. As with the Jew, their 
instinctive habit is one of perpetual appraisement. 
No matter what object may be shown to them for 
their instruction or admiration, their first and last 
thought is what it cost; and conversations over- 
heard among boatmen, coolies, and laborers turn 
invariably on the samie topic — money. This trait 
of character cannot be better described than in 
the words of the Abbe Hue : 

The Chinese has a passionate love of lucre; he is fond 
of all kinds of speculation and stock-jobbing, and his 
mind, full of finesse and cunning, takes delight in combin- 
ing and calculating the chances of a commercial operation. 

The Chinese, par excellence, is a man installed behind 
the counter of a shop, waiting for his customers with pa- 
tience and resignation, and in the intervals of their arrival 
pondering in his head and casting up on his little arith- 
metical machine the means of increasing his fortune. 
Whatever may be the nature and importance of his 
business, he neglects not the smallest profit; the least 
gain is always welcome, and he accepts it eagerly; greatest 
of all is his enjoyment when, in the evening, having well 
closed and barricaded his shop, he can retire into some 
corner, and there count up, religiously, the number of his 
sapecks, and reckon the earnings of the day. 



The Chinese is born with this taste for traffic, which 
grows with his growth and strengthens with his strength. 
The first thing a child longs for is a sapeck; the first use 
that he makes of his speech and intelligence is to learn 
to articulate the names of coins; when his little fingers 
are strong enough to hold the pencil, it is with making 
figures that he amuses himself, and as soon as the tiny 
creature can speak and walk he is capable of buying and 

Nor is it the mere gain that inspires the passion 
for merchandizing. In common with Orientals 
generally, the Chinese are fascinated by the sport 
of bargaining, as a cat is by playing its mouse or a 
fisherman his salmon. It is said that the late Li 
Hung Chang derived a purer pleasure from ''doing" 
an employee out of half a month's pay, as the re- 
sult of an afternoon's contest, than if he had saved 
a province of the Empire — a weakness which no 
doubt was often turned to profitable account by 
those who had important transactions with that 
eminent statesman. It is held to be a maxim of 
wisdom for an undergraduate to let his rich uncle 
have the better of him at chess. Human nature is 
essentially the same everywhere; the point of dif- 
ference to be noted here between Oriental and Oc- 
cidental is that time seems to be of no account to 
the one, while to the other it is a synonym for money, 
which is of prime value to both. 

And in connection with money-making there is 
another point to be noticed and kept in mind in 
regard to the Chinese, in which they are distin- 
guished from the races of the West, and perhaps of 
the East as well. Though parsimonious, the China- 



man is not mean. He is generous almost to a fault 
when the humor takes him — has a supreme disre- 
gard of trifles in settling an account — ^for example, 
takes a loss stoically, lends freely with small expecta- 
tion of return, and rarely sues for a debt. The ease 
of the Chinese in money- dealing contrasts strongly 
with the exigence with which they are treated by 
foreigners with whom they traffic. And yet in the 
essence of things there may be no real superiority 
or inferiority, for the liberality in the one case 
may be referred to the general laxity of Chinese 
reckoning and to the margin of perquisites on 
which they instinctively fall back, while the sever- 
ity in the other case belongs to precision of accounts 
and the absence of any margin of debatable ground 
where generosity might find pasture. In the West 
the open-handed man too often comes to penury, 
while in the East ''there is that scattereth and yet 
increase th." 

The combination of the qualities of avarice and 
profusion sometimes produces results which, though 
entirely natural in themselves, are both comical 
and paradoxical when viewed from a foreign stand- 
point. Once upon a time the agent at one of the 
minor ports for a wealthy firm in Shanghai lived in 
the somewhat lordly style which had been inherited 
from the East India Company. His ''boy," or but- 
ler, and his whole domestic staff made a good thing 
out of the establishment. Times changed, and the 
big firm ceased business. Left stranded, the agent 
decided to set up for himself and work the connec- 
tions he had formed among natives and foreign 
merchants. But the old scale of expenditure could 



not be supported. Summoning his faithful ''boy," 
he explained the situation to him — impossible to 
keep up the old expensive style of living, very sorry 
to part with such a good old servant, and so forth. 
The boy rose to the occasion in a somewhat sur- 
prising manner. "What for, masta, too muchee 
sollee? My too sollee, masta, no catchee good 
chance. My like stay this side. Masta, how much 
can pay?" (Why is master so sorrowful? I am very 
sorry that master is not doing well. I should like 
to stay in master's service. How much can master 
afford to pay?) The master scratched his forehead 
and paused, then named a sum which was just 
two-thirds of what his house bills had hitherto 
amounted to. ''Maskee, masta; masta talkee so 
muchee, can do" (Never mind, master; whatever 
you say will do), said the accommodating serving- 
man. So the menage proceeded, everything exactly 
as before — table as bountiful, servants as smart 
and as respectful, but the monthly charge thirty per 
cent. less. A year passed; the new business had 
been uphill work, as new businesses are wont to be; 
the emolument was disappointing. Again the 
master had to make an explanation to the servant; 
again the solution of the difficulty was to reduce the 
establishment. ''Never mind, master, tell me how 
much you think you can pay," was the substance of 
his " boy's " reply. The master was seriously taken 
aback, but he named a figure which was just one- 
half of what he had originally been paying. The 
"boy" accepted as cheerfully as before and went on 
his way rejoicing, and the menage proceeded not a 
salad leaf or a partridge or a mushroom the less; 



only the cost was reduced to very modest propor- 
tions. Of course it is open to remark that the 
wily Chinaman had been extortionate in the high 
old time — but what elasticity of accommodation, 
what fellowship in misfortune! 

Take a converse case of more recent occurrence 
in Peking. A French gentleman there keeping 
house with his wife had gone on smoothly and 
economically for many years, no ripple disturbing 
their domestic felicity. By and by they found a 
substantial increase in their monthly budget. They 
remonstrated with their head servant, but in vain. 
Stolidly, month after month, he brought in the same 
bill, until at last the master resolved to part with 
the servant, and did. When the successor came 
and was being inducted, he observed to the master: 
''What thing masta talkee? How can? S'pose 
that piecee man have talkee so fashon, that b'long 
tlue. My no can makee more plopa. He b'long 
welly good man," which, being interpreted, meant 
that he could not manage any cheaper than his 
predecessor. The master was surprised at this 
speech, argued the matter for a little, but could 
make nothing more out of the new servant. At the 
end of the first month, sure enough, the account 
came to within a fraction of what it had been. Re- 
monstrance from the master respectfully received, 
but the following month the same old charge. The 
master gave it up, and went on resignedly, as if in 
the clutches of Fate. But when some time had 
elapsed, and all controversy had ceased, the master, 
disputing no longer, begged the servant, merely to 
satisfy curiosity, to explain to him how it had come 



about that the scale of charge, which had gone on 
the same for so many years, had suddenly risen 
without any change in market prices or any other 
apparent reason. Taken into confidence in this way, 
the ''boy" looked blandly at his master and said: 
''Masta, six moon fore time have catchee good 
chance. Alio man too muchee glad. Mast a have 
catchee good chance, alio man can catchee too" — 
which means that, the master having had a piece of 
good-fortune six months before, all the servants 
considered themselves entitled to their share. 

We should not do the Chinese justice without 
carrying the money test of character a stage higher, 
almost into the region of pure ethics. It is not 
uncommon to impute ingratitude to them. But 
the rule applies — East and West alike — that a bad 
master never had a good servant, and those who 
most loudly cry out against ingratitude are usually 
those who have merited nothing else. There are 
two sides to all human relations; sentiments are 
not self -existent, but, like vertebrates, are the 
product of two parents. All foreigners who have 
studied the Chinese in a human, sympathetic 
manner, like Meadows, Smith, and others, testify to 
their devotion and gratitude. So many instances 
of this are recorded that it must be taken as natural 
to the Chinese to attach themselves heart and soul 
to any one, be he native or foreigner, who once gains 
their confidence. And the way to do that is explained 
by Meadows : it is to show them, not by words, but 
by acts, that you are thinking of their welfare as 
much as your own. There is no mystery in this; 
it holds good of all races and of all periods. But 



the gratitude of Orientals, Africans, and others has 
freer play than that of our own people because of 
the accommodating quality of their social relations 
and the extraordinary supply which their numbers 
afford. Stereotyped as are the Chinese relations 
in certain respects, they admit of great elasticity 
in others — thanks to the family and clan system — 
which makes it easy and common to find substi- 
tutes for almost any occasion. This enables a man 
to attach himself to a master, or follow a leader 
whom he appreciates, and to detach himself from 
his family, and even from business engagements, 
for indefinite periods. There are many foreigners 
who can speak from experience of such proofs of 
devotion and gratitude. 

That the family spirit expands and perpetuates 
the individual sentiment the following illustration 
will show: 

It happened to an Englishman once to revisit 
China after the lapse of many years. One day he 
was surprised to receive a call from some Chinese 
whom he did not know. They were well dressed 
and most respectful. After the usual conventional 
preliminaries, the principal man of the party — 
which seemed like a deputation — explained that he 
was the son of a Chinese gentleman who had died 
more than twenty years before, while the speaker 
was still a child; that he had been told by his rela- 
tives of the kindness which the Englishman had 
shown to his father in those old days, but had never, 
since he grew up, had any means of expressing 
his gratitude. Now it had come to his ears that a 
person bearing the name of his father's friend had 



recently arrived in the town, but he could not tell 
if it was the same. So he paid this visit merely to 
find out, was overjoyed to have discovered him, 
and begged to be allowed to pay his homage on 
another occasion. Exchange of family news nat- 
urally took place, and on his next visit the Chinese 
gentleman came laden with valuable presents spe- 
cially selected for the respective children of his 
casually discovered English friend. 

Instances of large-heartedness in money matters 
in which foreigners have been the beneficiaries are 
indeed comparatively common. In the last gener- 
ation they were still more so, for commerce, espe- 
cially that portion of it which was centered in 
Canton, was conducted in a grander, more merchant- 
princelike fashion than the circumstances of our 
day admit of. Complete trust was the rule between 
the old Hong merchants and the European and 
American traders, and business was transacted 
in whole ship-loads. The friendly relations then 
established subsisted for a generation after the 
destruction of the * 'factories," in 1856, and the 
inauguration of the new era, which is of a more 
individualized and retail character. One well- 
known survivor of the old regime, an American 
gentleman, Mr. X., who was alive in Canton in 
1884, had, in consequence of the collapse of his firm, 
fallen from affluence to penury, and was personally 
deeply in debt to certain of the representatives of 
the old ' ' co-hong. ' ' Seeing that the veteran remained 
on in Canton, never visiting his home and family, 
his Chinese friend asked him why he denied himself 
the natural solace of his old age — permanent separa- 



tion from the family home being specially intoler- 
able to a Chinese — and guessing the reason, it is 
said he produced Mr. X.'s note of hand for a large 
amount, and tore it up before the maker, saying, 
"Now are you free to return to your home?" 
Whether literally accurate in its details or not, the 
mere currency of such a story goes a long way 
toward proving the contention. 

Of course, it may be said these are exceptional 
cases, and so they are. But the question is — on 
which side is the exception ; on that of the Chinese or 
that of the foreigners? If more of the latter en- 
deavored to gain the confidence of the former in the 
natural way, would not the experience of grateful, 
devoted, and trustworthy Chinese be greatly ex- 
tended? And, considering the race antipathy that 
keeps them apart, the fact that any instances at all 
of such kindly relations ever come within the ex- 
perience of foreigners affords strong presumption 
that among themselves the Chinese maintain a more 
than friendly, a really generous intercourse. 

One of the most valuable qualities of the Chinese 
people, considered with reference to their utility 
in the future development of their country, is their 
marvelous tolerance of things disagreeable, and 
their invincible contentment under all circumstances. 
Every traveler, every one who has had opportunities 
of observing them, testifies to their unfailing good- 
humor under every kind of discomfort, and under 
the severest bodily toil. Their cheerfulness is un- 
daunted; neither cold nor heat, neither hunger nor 
fatigue, has power to depress them; nor does mis- 
fortune or natural calamity or sickness provoke 



them to repine. As Giles says, ''They seem to 
have acquired a national habit of looking upon the 
bright side." 

According to A. H. Smith, ''to be happy is more 
than they expect, but they are willing to be as happy 
as they can." Possibly they follow Carlyle un- 
knowingly, and do not recognize "happiness" at all 
as an object in life, and therefore they enjoy the more 
of it — enjoy all they get, instead of vexing them- 
selves about what they lack. Smith tells us of a 
Chinese who was employed by a foreigner — no doubt 
himself — in pushing a heavy wheelbarrow on jour- 
neys, often months in duration. 

Upon these trips it was necessary to start early, to 
travel late, to transport heavy loads over steep and 
rugged mountains, in all seasons and in all weathers, 
fording chilling rivers with bare feet and legs, and at 
the end of every stage to prepare his master's food and 
lodging. All this laborious work was done for a very 
moderate compensation, and always without complaint; 
and at the end of several years of this service his master 
testified that he had never once seen this servant out of 
temper ! 

One may venture to add on one's own account that 
this description seems typical. Now, to put the 
merits of such a placid temper on the lowest utili- 
tarian grounds, consider what an economy of nervous 
friction is implied in a working life passed in such a 
happy frame of mind. Is it not alone a source of 
v/ealth to the people who possess it? 

Smith adds his experience of the Chinaman in 
sickness. He says: 



Their cheery hopefulness often does not forsake them in 
physical weakness and in extreme pain. We have known 
multitudes of cases where Chinese patients, suffering from 
every variety of disease, frequently in deep poverty, not 
always adequately nourished, at a distance from their 
homes, sometimes neglected or even abandoned by their 
relatives, and with no ray of hope for the future visible, 
yet maintained a cheerful equanimity of temper, which 
was a constant, albeit unintentional, rebuke to the nervous 
impatience which. . . . 

He concludes his chapter with the observation 
which may also fitly conclude the present one: "If 
the teaching of history as to what happens to 'the 
fittest ' is to be trusted, there is a magnificent future 
for the Chinese race." 



IN the preceding chapter the Chinese people are 
studied from the point of view of what they are in 
every-day Hfe. Elsewhere we deal with their rela- 
tions to the state and to each other as units in a vast 
community. In this chapter an attempt will be 
made to gauge the relations of the Chinese to the 
Unseen — the spiritual life which shapes and bends 
and sometimes even breaks the man who is, perhaps, 
hardly conscious of its power. We are accustomed 
to attribute to spiritual influences certain qualities 
which have a moral value in our eyes, such as truth- 
fulness, honesty, or mercy. When we find the Chinese 
devoid of these we rashly conclude that his conduct 
has no ethical basis. But, although it is true that the 
religion of Christianity inculcates those qualities as 
a moral duty, it is not quite clear whether we have 
adopted them as such or because, as a matter of 
experience, we have proved them to be the best 
policy. There are other qualities, equally insisted 
on by the Founder of the Christian religion, to 
which we pay little attention (as, for instance, meek- 
ness and respect for parents), because we find they 
do not conduce to material well-being. We need 
4 37 


not, therefore, assume the airs of superior beings on 
the ground of our higher standard of moraHty or 
approximation to an ideal, but where we are entitled 
to some satisfaction is in the fact that Christianity 
has certainly helped to mold a civilization which is 
more efficient than any other in the world. Whether 
the religion is essential to the civilization or not 
remains to be seen. Be that as it may, we are bound 
to admit that, not abstract principles, but the con- 
ventions necessary to facilitate human intercourse 
are the real factors in deciding, beyond a certain 
point, what is good and what bad in human conduct. 
Morality is largely a geographic question, and vir- 
tues in one zone become vice in another. Without 
any attempt to judge the Chinese on any ethical 
grounds, therefore, we are bound to examine their 
code and their conduct, not only to see how far the 
second approximates to the first — how true they are 
to their own lights — but to estimate the practical 
value of the ethical basis of their society when it is 
brought, as it must be, into contact and competition 
with others. 

It may be said at once that the Chinese are sin- 
gularly little occupied with the problems of the uni- 
verse and of human existence. This vast field of 
speculation interests them but little, nor are they 
wont to question themselves as to where they come 
from and whither they are going. From the point 
of view of persons to whom definite convictions on 
these subjects are essential to moral welfare the 
Chinese are by no means a religious people. On the 
other hand, if the careful and punctilious observance 
of certain rites and the performance of certain duties 



are to count for anything, they are a very re- 
Hgious people. The difificulty is to define their 

The paramount influences in forming Chinese 
character (apart from geographic influences, the deep- 
rooted beHef in the animation of the universe with 
good and evil spirits, and ancestor- worship) have 
been the philosophies of Confucius and Lao-tsz. 
Unlike Western philosophies, which from Pythagoras 
to Spencer have been abstract and Utopian, Confu- 
cianism is practical, and rules the lives of the masses, 
instead of making a purely intellectual appeal. 
Confucianism, moreover, is apparently quite inde- 
pendent of a specific religious basis, and is, in fact, 
a great moderating force specially calculated to pre- 
serve in men's minds the truly philosophic — that is, 
the tolerant — attitude. The teaching of Confucius 
was an attempt to evolve a standard of morality, 
based upon his interpretation of history, which would 
influence the social, moral, and political life of the 
people. Lao-tsz, who was a contemporary of Con- 
fucius, was the expounder of a more mystical philos- 
ophy, in which the keynote is tao — the ''correct 
way." He who finds this "way of life" — a rightly 
adjusted attitude toward life — is independent of all 
outside circumstances; and, although Lao-tsz rec- 
ognized that some men must inevitably be leaders 
in the state and that government, even by force, 
was essential, yet he preached a pure form of de- 
mocracy. Ancestor-worship — the ''very core of the 
reHgious and social life" of the Chinese, as M. de 
Groot calls it — enters into the life of the people more 
fully, perhaps, than any other influence. Buddhism 



and Taoism supply the forms of ritual or outward 

A less desirable result of tao is its encouragement 
of superstition, and in its modern form this aspect 
has practically eaten up the others, and it appears 
now as the groundwork for Feng-shui and every kind 
of demonological belief. 

This Shen-tao, or divine faith, is the Shinto of 
Japan, and both Confucianism and Shintoism in- 
sist on the sacredness of the family as the basis of 
society. Buddhism and Christianity, on the con- 
trary, make the relation of the individual to a divine 
ideal their main feature, and it is interesting to 
trace the conflict between these two fundamentally 
differing views of life in the countries of the Far 
East. Buddhism has undergone many transforma- 
tions in adapting itself, and the twelfth century 
witnessed a species of reformation in which the sa- 
credness of the family was upheld. Indian pundits 
claim this new teaching as a reformed Brahmanism; 
and its resemblances, both in doctrine and ritual, 
to Christianity are strikingly apparent in Japan 

The doctrines of Confucius and Lao-tsz are not, 
however, to be considered as religious, but rather as 
ethical systems. Lao-tsz appeared to have a vague 
conception of a future life, while Confucianism rec- 
ognized tacitly the underlying natural religion 
which had prevailed from the most ancient times — 
the belief in a Supreme Being. The influence of 
these two philosophers, moreover, was not alto- 
gether inimical to the introduction of foreign re- 
ligions, since they inculcated tolerance and kept their 



disciples free from religious fanaticism. Buddhism, 
accordingly, reached China in the first centuries 
A.D., by the overland route, followed later by Marco 
Polo and other travelers. It was encouraged by the 
Emperor and spread peacefully in China, though 
when it reached Japan it was for a time the center 
of conflict. Islam came to China in the seventh 
century, both by land and sea, and its reception is 
interesting to us because, being a pure form of mono- 
theism, it might have been expected to clash with 
some of the most cherished customs and deeply 
rooted prejudices of the Chinese. Throughout their 
history in China, however, the Mohammedans have 
preferred to bend rather than to break, and, by per- 
mitting the veneration of ancestors, they have re- 
moved the most serious obstacle in their path. In 
many respects their doctrine was sympathetic to 
the Chinese. The treatment of women was similar; 
their fatalism, subjectivism, and regulations as to 
regime and behavior are in no way strange or re- 
pugnant to the Chinese; and, as they refrained from 
propaganda and merely appealed for protection, they 
roused none of the latent suspicions of their hosts. 
It was not till the twelfth century that the influx 
of Mohammedans was considerable, but after that 
time they spread over the west, north, and south, 
and at the present time are steadily on the increase, 
especially in the western provinces of Yunnan and 
Kansuh. The outbreaks of rebellion, which have 
given the Mussulman Chinese a bad name, have been 
due to political rather than religious causes. 

There is no need to recall in detail the history of 
the introduction of the third foreign religion into 



China. Every one is aware that the Nestorian 
Christians gained a footing both with the Court and 
people in the seventh century, and during the thir- 
teenth and fourteenth centuries, under the Mongol 
dynasty, both Nestorianism and the Church of Rome 
flourished not only in Peking, but in various provinces. 
In the early part of the seventeenth century there 
were estimated to be no fewer than thirteen thou- 
sand Christians in as many as seven different 
provinces (and among them members of the Imperial 
family and high officials) , while the Spanish Francis- 
cans and Dominicans, who came over from the Philip- 
pines, claimed to have (in 1665) over fourteen thou- 
sand Christians in the three coast provinces. It even 
seemed possible at one period that China might of- 
ficially adopt the Christian religion, but there was a 
decisive barrier in the way — the refusal of the Church 
to sanction ancestral rights. Although the seven- 
teenth century saw considerable variations in the 
attitude of the Chinese government toward Chris- 
tianity, and a struggle between the followers of Christ 
and of Mohammed for power at Peking, yet the for- 
mer continued to increase until, by the end of the cen- 
tury, there were three hundred thousand Christians in 
various parts of the country. The question which 
sealed the fate of Christianity in China was that of the 
rival authority of Church and State, also the decisive 
factor in European history. Early in the eighteenth 
century the Emperor Kang-hi practically abolished 
religious freedom in China by decreeing that in 
future no one should preach the Gospel without the 
Imperial license. Considerable dissension occurred 
among the Jesuits, Dominicans, and Franciscans, 



and this served to aggravate the points of difference 
between Church and State. The most vital point, 
however, was that of the ancestral rites, which the 
Pope refused to allow, and from this time the light 
of Imperial favor was steadily averted from the 
Christian priests. 

Toward the end of the eighteenth century, on the 
suppression of their Society, the Jesuits were re- 
placed by the Lazarists, and France became the most 
active power in missionary work. This was the 
great persecution period, when many Christians won 
the crown of martyrdom, and only the stanchest 
converts remained true. The tide rolled back so 
surely that in many provinces only ruined churches 
remained to tell the tale of Christian endeavor. 
Although the history of certain missions has been 
continuous and there has been no break in their 
record of work, yet their harvests were small, and 
Christianity must be acknowledged to have been for 
this period almost in abeyance as an active force in 
Chinese evolution. It was not till the middle of the 
last century that the despised and rejected religion 
was to revive in a new manner. 

The first coming of Christianity was made on 
sufferance, with appeals for protection; the second 
was, under treaty rights, practically a forcible en- 
trance. China yielded to Europe under pressure 
the right to certain treaty ports for trading purposes, 
and by the treaty of 1858 foreigners were permitted 
to travel in the interior. This was the opportunity of 
the missionaries, but the situation was largely affected 
by the determination of France to make use of it 
for her own political purposes. Ever since the reign 



of Louis XIV. the eyes of the French ecclesiastics 
had turned eastward (first to Siam), and the move- 
ment was always politico-religious. Chinese writers 
in later days have noted the fact that even the 
free-thinker Gambetta, who persecuted the Church 
in France, was ready to expend men and treasure 
in supporting it abroad. A celebrated clause inter- 
polated in the Chinese version of the convention 
of i860 has been used by France to strengthen her 
claims to the protection not only of European mis- 
sionaries, but of native Christians. That these pre- 
tensions were not acknowledged by other Powers is 
shown by the action of Germany in insisting that 
German Catholic priests must apply to their own 
legation for passports and for support if needed.^ 
No more striking illustration can be found of the ex- 
tent to which political motives overruled the purely 
missionary element than that of the bitter opposi- 
tion of the French government to the proposal made 
by the Chinese to the Pope, in 1886, that a special 
legate should be sent to Peking as controller and pro- 
tector of ail Catholic missions. The Pope, en- 
tirely favorable to the scheme, was obliged by the 
French opposition to abandon it, but the proposal 
may yet bring forth fruit. 

It would take too great space to trace, even in 
bare outline, the varying steps by which those who 
preach the Gospel of Christ in China have been the 
instruments of political designs. The situation is 

1 It is not generally known that, by the German Treaty of 1861, 
Article X, to Germany (and presumably, therefore, to other nations) 
security is guaranteed for the persons and property of missionaries 
and their converts. 



summed up in the phrase "extra-territoriaHty," and 
it may safely be said that no reHgion has ever been 
presented to a people under such peculiar conditions. 
In 187 1 Wensiang, the head of the Chinese Foreign 
Board, one of the fairest and most open-minded of 
Chinese statesmen, drew up a circular reviewing the 
whole position and, in a series of categorical proposals 
for the regulation of intercourse with the people, 
plainly indicated the main grievances of the Chinese. 
Briefly these were : Grave offense to Chinese ideas of 
propriety (such as the mixed attendance of the sexes 
at public worship); the legal status of the mission- 
aries and their attempt to remove even their native 
converts from local jurisdiction; the desire of the mis- 
sionaries to move about without being clearly trace- 
able; the neglect of certain etiquette in intercourse 
with officials; the reclamation of ancient sites and 
churches which had sometimes to be taken from 
Chinese owners who had honestly acquired them; 
and the method of requiring vengeance on anti- 
Christian rioters not only from the men themselves, 
but from whole districts. These grievances, with 
slight modifications, exist to this day, and the last- 
named in particular has been made a source of fruit- 
fulness to foreign governments, who have claimed 
monstrous indemnities for outrages on their nationals. 
It may be mentioned here that a recent act of the 
Peking government has been to obtain a complete 
list and valuation of missionary property throughout 
the Empire, which looks like a characteristic piece 
of Chinese business acumen. 

The legal status of Euopean missionaries in China 
has been that of superiority to the laws of the coun- 



try whose hospitality they have enjoyed and whose 
ancient customs they have attacked, not infrequently 
with imprudence. It is not necessary to dwell on 
the mistakes of individuals, since it is evident that the 
whole position was one which could not fail to rouse 
the deepest resentment in a people so proud as the 
Chinese. The irritable condition set up has been 
aggravated in several ways, first by the order, re- 
sulting from pressure brought to bear on Peking, 
that all ancient church property should be restored. 
This led to real hardships, and apart from these, the 
contempt of Chinese susceptibilities and prejudices 
(which, for instance, led to the erection of a cathedral 
actually overlooking the palace and to many out- 
rages on the feng-shtii superstition) has not tended to 
reconcile the Chinese to the situation. The last 
straws have been the right to acquire and hold real 
estate throughout the Empire, and, infinitely more, 
the obtaining of official rank for European mis- 
sionaries, a measure wrung from China in 1897, just 
after her disastrous defeat by Japan and territorial 
losses. Since the treaty of Nanking, European civil 
and military officials have enjoyed the privilege which 
the ceremonious etiquette of China rendered useful 
in official relations, but the claim of a Christian 
bishop to equal a viceroy or provincial governor 
and of an ordinary priest to the rank of prefect 
(their influence and authority, of course, correspond- 
ing so far as possible) was a new and danger- 
ous political weapon bound to bring evil conse- 
quences. The Protestant missioners declined to 
accept the privilege, although some of them re- 
gard it as due to their position not as individ- 



uals, but as representing a mass of people in 

The actual growth of mission bodies is of less im- 
portance, however, than the broad aspect of the 
question; but it may be roughly said that, while the 
Catholics have a great advantage in being organized 
and directed, while the Protestants arouse the wonder 
and scorn of the Chinese by the variety and incom- 
patibility of their doctrinal teaching, and while the 
former avoid preaching in the streets or open air 
(which is opposed to Chinese ideas of decorum), yet 
the Protestants have of late years been developing 
their work on lines which are more promising than 
any hitherto adopted. The Catholic educational 
work is almost entirely ecclesiastical or literary, and 
their method of filling orphanages with children, who 
as they grow up serve the Church in various capac- 
ities, has led to hatred and suspicion on the part of the 
Chinese. The Protestants are now making a grand 
effort to promote secular education and to diffuse 
good literature throughout the length and breadth 
of the country; and since the terrible massacres of 
1900 there has been a genuine attempt to draw all 
Protestant workers together. The estimated num- 
ber of Catholic workers is 47 bishops, 1,391 European 
and 640 native priests, and nearly 1,300,000 converts 
(inclusive of children) ; and of Protestants, 4,500 mis- 
sionaries (including wives and women workers), 
while their converts number over 287,000. In pass- 
ing it may be noted that the writer finds it difficult 
to believe that the presence of lady missionaries in 
the remote interior does not, as their champions de- 
clare, offend the Chinese sense of propriety. 



There has been one remarkable change in the 
missionary outlook. Up to recent times we were al- 
ways told that the common people were ready to 
welcome Christianity and (what is more) the Chris- 
tian missionary, but that the government and 
literati were hostile. Now we find the government 
and officials almost ostentatiously friendly, while at 
the same time the signs of anti- Christian feeling are 
still apparent. The truth is that in a country like 
China, with a truly democratic basis of society, no 
actual artificial line can be drawn between the classes ; 
but whereas the Manchu rulers and the officials de- 
pendent on them have become convinced that 
China's needs and capacities will not permit her the 
luxury of murdering foreigners, the mass of the peo- 
ple are too ignorant to appreciate the situation. 
They are, moreover, moved by a new spirit, and it 
becomes increasingly doubtful whether any govern- 
ment can long exercise that control over them which, 
despite frequent rebellions, it has so long possessed. 

What are the prospects of Christianity in China? 
To answer that we must ask another question : What 
has Christianity to offer to China? We offer her a 
system of ethics which is in some respects inferior to 
her own. Our moral system is founded on in- 
dividualism, hers on the family life. Christianity 
bids a man leave father and mother and cleave to his 
wife. It preaches war even in the famil3^ and its 
Founder said, ''I came not to bring peace, but a 
sword." These are hard sayings for China, and it 
will be long ere she can accomplish so entire a change 
of moral vision as to perceive their true meaning. 
She is able now to gauge how far the abstract prin- 



ciples of Christianity have been abandoned in build- 
ing up our ethics; and she can see — for instance, in 
France — how far the Christian people are from 
recognizing the influence with which we desire to sup- 
plant Confucius, Lao-tsz, Buddha, or Mohammed. 
The Chinese are too subtle a people to be drawn away 
from the worship of one set of words to another with- 
out being convinced that the new form has a more 
vital force than the old. To them, unfortunately. 
Christian doctrine must seem mostly a form of 
words, since its very propagation among them is 
founded on what they consider untruth. ''Chris- 
tianity," they say, "was permitted to be preached 
because it taught virtue; we find it teaches a great 
many things which are not virtue, such as defying 
the law of the land; and it is, in fact, a political and 
not a religious propaganda." Readers will make 
allowance for the Chinese point of view. 

But, again, what has Christianity to offer to 
China? The spiritual consolations and uplif tings 
of our religion do not have the same appeal to a 
people whose fundamental idea of virtue is stoicism, 
and whose mystical side has never developed. In 
fact, when we remember how little the Chinaman is 
aware of his own need of religion, it is hard to for- 
mulate in words any exact spiritual benefit which we 
can promise him in exchange for long-cherished cus- 
toms and traditions. To borrow an expression, the 
conviction of sin and the longing for salvation do not 
enter into his purview of life; and, when we reflect 
that many things which we call sin are virtues in his 
eyes, it is hard to see how we are to bring these things 
home to him. 



But Christian civilization, without Christian 
doctrine, has much to offer China; and the benefits 
of advanced humanitarianism, of appHed science, 
and of personal devotion to an ideal are beginning 
to bear good fruit after a long period in which their 
connection with the hated foreigner and his ways 
was the great obstacle. The opening, under official 
patronage, of a medical college even at Peking, pro- 
moted by missionaries but secular in character, is 
one of the signs of a new order of things. It must be 
remembered that surgical work has been greatly 
hindered by the Chinese hatred of mutilation, which 
rendered operations in hospitals the subject of fright- 
ful misrepresentations. This most Christian form 
of teaching — the alleviation of human suffering — 
has had to fight its way through many obstacles, and 
has illustrated well the wide gulf which separates 
the Eastern and Western modes of thought. The 
whole fabric of taoism, with its pseudo-scientific 
jargon of elements and essences, breaks down before 
a training in elementary chemistry. 

It is notorious that a new era has begun in China, 
and that the *'new learning" is no longer to be des- 
pised, but has become the fashion. The insecurity 
of the Manchu dynasty in the midst of these new 
conditions drove the Court and officials into an atti- 
tude of great complaisance to foreign Powers, and 
now we see a Chinese Christian elected as the head 
of the republic which the reform party wishes to es- 
tablish. Is this the beginning of a fresh era in the 
history of Christianity? Despite everything — the 
Chinese attitude, the false position created by the 
extra-territorial rights of missionaries, the trans- 



parent political designs of those who protect Chris- 
tianity — despite all these and many other handicaps, 
are we yet to see Christianity as a practical and effi- 
cient force in the rebirth of the Chinese people? 

Naturally, we turn to Japan at this point, as 
China has done. We see, as China sees, that Japan 
has taken Christian civilization and left its religion 
— that is to say, the husk without the kernel — and 
Japan has been extraordinarily successful. The 
period of her renascence has coincided with a greatly 
increased missionary activity in the East, and might 
have been reasonably expected to show a propor- 
tionate increase of Christian converts. We know 
that the opposite has been the case — that the last 
decade has seen the worst Christian persecution on 
record in China ; and that even the optimistic Amer- 
icans, who are the principal workers in the Japanese 
missionary field, acknowledge somewhat barren rec- 
ords. Japanese influence in China is, in fact, 
solidly anti-Christian, not in the sense of stirring 
up anti-Christian riots, but in stimulating the na- 
tional and racial pride which, unfortunately, have 
been most sorely wounded by the politico-religious 
European propagandists. There is actually a pan- 
Buddhist revival, artificially stimulated by Japan, 
which makes its appeal to racial rather than religious 
feeling. Moreover, the success of the Japanese in 
adapting, rather than adopting. Western civilization 
has been the subject of much remark in China, and 
the conclusion drawn is that to be efficient like the 
barbarian it is not necessary to accept his religion. 

Between religious disputes among the missionary 
bodies, which from time immemorial have disagreed 



as to the best method of presenting Christ's teaching 
to the Chinese, and between the poHtical rivalries of 
the Christian European Powers, it is evident that 
China must find it hard to accept the rehgion of peace 
on earth as anything more than a convenient pre- 
text for foreign aggression. Were she incHned to do 
so her experience of the last half-century would dis- 
illusion her. Her own faults of misgovemment 
and vacillation are largely to blame for the state of 
affairs; but nothing can alter the main fact that, by 
placing Christianity on a different footing from other 
foreign religions, Europe has enormously increased 
the difficulties of the position. In the words of the 
late author of The Englishman in China, one of the 
acutest observers of the relations between East and 
West who has written in the English language : 

When all suspicion as to [the Christian missionary's] 
motives shall have been removed; when he shall have 
learned to live on amicable terms with his Chinese neigh- 
bors, and they to regard him not as a danger, but as a 
reasonable friend; when there shall be no more local 
sources of irritation; when, in short, the missionary shall 
be treated on his proper merits — what, then, will be his 
position toward the Chinese? Will it not still be that of a 
destroyer of their traditions, their morality, their phil- 
osophy — in a word, of that on which they build up their 
national and individual pride and of all that now sustains 
them in an orderly and virtuous life? 

These words represent very accurately the atti- 
tude of many earnest and thinking men toward 
Christianity in China, but the troubling of the waters 
which has taken place since they were written has 



modified some of the conditions. Chinese philos- 
ophy and morality are breaking down of them- 
selves before the impact of materialism, and, dark 
as the outlook has been and still is for the spread of 
the dogmas of Christianity, there is reason to believe 
that the efforts of Christian men to raise the Chinese 
standard at just those points where it is lowest — in 
humanitarianism, respect for women, and freedom 
from degrading superstitions — will eventually win 
for the religion which prompted them a recogni- 
tion which no mere doctrinal propagandism could 

But the question of religion in China is not, to 
the mind of the writer, only concerned with the 
future of Christianity. Though the amalgam of 
Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism (which for 
the average Chinese has supplied the place of a re- 
ligion that is a moral and ethical basis to his material 
existence) may be inferior as an elevating influence 
to Christianity, yet it has certainly had some very 
striking effects, and has helped to produce a type 
of man with some sterling qualities and a society 
whose very longevity is a guarantee of efficiency. 
The precepts of Confucius and Lao-tsz and the 
Buddhist doctrines of the purer kind are of the 
loftiest character. But, just as the English school 
boy or girl may contract a lifelong aversion to the 
Bible from being compelled to memorize solid cl;iunks 
of it, so the "classics" of China are in danger of 
being neglected in the rush for Western education. 
More is said on this subject in the chapter on "The 
New Learning." The real danger is that Young 
China, rejecting the fashions of their fathers, may 
5 53 


grow up without religion at all. It is the experience 
of mission schools that their best pupils passing on to 
government universities are concerned only with the 
secular side of education. How many Japanese, 
trained abroad, return in fact to the nominal faith 
which it is still their patriotic duty to profess? The 
Chinese are extremely tolerant in religious matters. 
The persecution of Christians has always been con- 
nected with politics, even when the ostensible rea- 
son was some infraction of Chinese codes by mis- 
sionaries. Tolerance in religious matters is not 
always a positive virtue ; more often than not it is a 
question of indifference. It has been asked whether 
the Chinese people, who so recently persecuted 
Christians, will accept a Christian ruler. Probably 
his record as a patriot will quite outweigh any slight 
disadvantage attaching to his profession of a foreign 
faith. But the latitudinarianism of the Chinese con- 
stitutes a real danger, to which some of their wisest 
men are already awake, and, unless they are to lose 
altogether the moral rudder by which they have 
hitherto been guided, a strong effort should be made 
to preserve the teaching of their own classics. That 
this can supply the place of religion is not advanced, 
but a man's religion is the outcome of his own 
spiritual needs. He can be guided, but not driven, 
toward it. The ethical training on which his charac- 
ter and his relations with other men are largely 
founded must, on the contrary, be given him early 
and in large doses. Young China may find Christ, 
but cannot dispense with Confucius. 



PERHAPS the simplest conception of the gov- 
ernment of China is to regard it as an ancient 
theocracy, the Emperor being Pontifex Maximus, 
and ruHng by divine right. There is no Church or 
priesthood, no dogmas to become obsolete, no ritual 
to be corrupted, no scriptures to be perverted or 
criticized, but only one Solitary Man standing be- 
tween Heaven and Earth. Hence, perhaps, the un- 
exampled duration of a system whose ethereal 
essence, unencumbered with perishable integuments, 
has hitherto been superior to time and change. 
The Emperor worshiped Heaven pure and simple. 
It was his place to declare the will of Heaven to 
the people, which it must be admitted he did with 
much modesty and reserve. He was responsible to 
Heaven alone, and was in his own person the blame 
of Heaven's judgments on the people, humbling him- 
self in sackcloth and ashes to avert the Divine wrath. 
But as none could share his responsibility, so none 
could share his authority. 

Viewed from the terrestrial standpoint, we reach 
the same result by an inverse process. The Imperial 
structure may, with as much accuracy, be regarded 
as the supreme development of the family idea. 



The people are the children, the Emperor the great 
father: absolute obedience on the one side, protec- 
tion and nourishment on the other; such is the 
theoretical relationship. The family, the master key 
to all Chinese polity, is a mighty power in support 
of order culminating in the Throne. Parricide is 
the most heinous of crimes, and rebellion is parricide. 
Nevertheless, with that bewildering combination of 
two opposing theories which often confront us in 
China, the right to revolt against bad rule is an 
acknowledged privilege of the Chinese democracy. 

It is, of course, hard to bring lofty ideals into 
harmony with the grisly reality of Palace intrigues 
which place this or that infant in the seat of the Son 
of Heaven to the accompaniment of assassination; 
but it is convenient, nevertheless, to bear the theory 
in mind, were it of no greater utility than to keep us 
from error in interpreting the forms and phraseology 
of edicts and other state papers. 

More important for practical purposes is the 
Chinese civil administration, which may be con- 
sidered apart from the abstract theory of govern- 
ment. And the first point deserving notice is the 
position of the absolute monarch in the governing 
machine. He has not, in practice, governed any 
more despotically than a constitutional sovereign 
or the president of a republic: he only says yes or 
no to projects submitted to him, or refers them **to 
the board concerned for further consideration and 
report." Though the power of initiative may be 
vested in the Emperor, it is sparingly used. Be- 
sides the check automatically applied by the official 
mechanism, an influence less definite though no less 



effective over the acts of the sovereign has always 
been exerted by the body of educated opinion. 
From the Hterary oHgarch}^ indeed, Hue considers 
the central government derives its real inspiration 
and moral authority. The regular procedure is by 
memorials, which are addressed direct to the Throne, 
and, as has been stated, are generally sent to the 
boards to report upon. This may cause convenient 
delay in giving a decision, and the members of the 
Great Council have also their final say. In the end 
the matter may be approved, dismissed, or deferred 
by the Emperor on the advice of the Privy Council. 
The system is probably as effective a way of sifting 
a question as a parliamentary discussion would be, 
especially as the Chinese government has its own 
way of making officials personally responsible for 
the advice they give. The operation of this prin- 
ciple of personal responsibility runs, indeed, through 
the whole scheme of Chinese life, and is important 
to be kept in mind by all who have dealings with 
them, whether political or commercial. An official 
who criticizes the conduct of another in a matter 
of difficulty is often taken at his word and sent 
himself to carry out his own alternative plans. In 
this way some of the results of party government are 
attained by a different process. 

The attempt to classify the Chinese system of 
administration so as to bring it within the group of 
governmental forms with which the Western peoples 
are familiar is apt to lead to erroneous impressions, 
for it cannot be described by any of the names in 
common use. If we call it a despotism we are con- 
fronted with facts which would show it to be the 



most democratic polity extant; and, if we call the 
Empire a federation of independent states, we are 
met by the absolute power vested in the Throne to 
remove the provincial governors at pleasure. It is 
best, therefore, to leave the system without a name, 
except that it is Chinese; for the "labels" have in 
times past sometimes misled Western governments 
into assuming what was non-existent, and into bas- 
ing their policy on the fallacy. 

The ultimate unit — the germ-cell, as we may call it, 
of the Chinese body — is the family, compact and indi- 
visible, theoretically living on the soil which contains 
the family altar and the family tomb.^ It is the first 
course of the political pyramid, which is but little 
affected by the storms that may blast its apex, and 
which survives the wreck of dynasties and the march 
of conquerors. Groups of families constitute vil- 
lages, which are self-governing, and the official who 
ventures to trench on their immemorial rights to the 
point of resistance is, according to an official code not 
confined to China, disavowed by his superiors, and 
generally finds a change of scene imperative. The 
family system, with its extension to village and town 
groups, the respective heads of which are responsible, 
in an ascending series, for all the individuals, is the 
cheapest form of government extant,^ for it dis- 

1 In dealing with the Chinese this all-important fact is usually- 
forgotten by Westerners, with whom the individual is the unit. 

2 So cheap that, according to M. Stmon, Chinese taxation amounts 
to three francs per head of the population; and so good that crime 
is comparatively rare. In the preservation of order the interested 
vigilance of the people themselves goes hand-in-hand with the 
official organization in the prevention of disturbances or crime. 
And both forces receive a vital sanction from the indissoluble tie 



penses with police, while disposing effectually of 
offenders against the peace or respectability of the 

Where the aboriginal government, which has 
grown, so to say, out of the soil, meets the artificial 
rule which has been imposed from above, the line 
cannot perhaps be drawn with absolute precision, but 
it may, for the purposes of this work, be assumed that 
the official hierarchy begins with the chi hsien, who 
rules a district {hsien) about as large as an English 
county. He is usually called by foreigners the 
''district magistrate," but this title, like that of an 
Indian ''collector," very inadequately represents his 
multifarious functions, which are educational, fiscal, 
judicial, and all that belongs to an executive ; indeed, 
as the last link in the long official chain which con- 
nects the Imperial Throne with the peasant's hut, 
there is nothing that concerns the life of the people 
which does not concern this very hard-worked officer. 
As the family is the unit of the Chinese nation, so 
may the district be considered the unit of the ad- 
ministrative system of the Empire. 

A group of districts forms a department, or Juy 

which binds every individual to the family, even in exile. As has been 
well said, "The man who knows that it is almost impossible, except 
by entire seclusion, to escape from the company of secret or ac- 
knowledged emissaries of government, will be cautious of offend- 
ing the laws of his country, knowing, as he must, that though he 
should himself escape, yet his family, his kindred, or his neighbors 
will suffer for his offense; that if unable to recompense the sufferers, 
it will probably be dangerous for him to return home; or if he does, 
it will be most likely to find his property in the possession of neigh- 
bors or officials, who feel conscious of security in plundering one 
whose offenses have forever placed him under a ban." — The Fort- 
nightly Review, 1895, p. 578. 



which is governed by the chi fu, or prefect, whose 
place of residence takes rank as a fu city, as Hang- 
chau fu. The prefect is the court of appeal from the 

A group of departments forms a circuit, at the head 
of which is an official whose title is very familiar to 
readers of newspapers — the taotai, or intendant of 
circuit. If the magistrate be the important official 
for the Chinese people, the taotai is the important 
one for foreigners, for he is the pivot on which all 
business outside the territorial administration turns. 
Meadows tells us ^ that the taotai is the lowest civ- 
ilian who exercises a direct ex-officio authority over 
the military. Though he would naturally reside in a 
departmental or fu city, the exigencies of business 
often require him to select one of district rank, as, 
for instance, Shanghai. Tientsin is a fu city and 
also a hsien, and thus has a prefect as well as a dis- 
trict magistrate. It is not only the official residence 
of the territorial and other taotais, but has been the 
seat of the vice-regal court of the province of Chihli 
ever since 1870, when the great massacre took place 
there. Its peculiar position as the gate of the capital 
renders the presence in Tientsin of an officer of the 
highest responsibility a necessity of state. 

The next grade in the administrative system is the 
province, the chief executive officer of which is the 
governor, or fu tai. The number of the provinces 
has remained for such a length of time eighteen that 
China proper is usually known to the inhabitants 
simply as "The Eighteen Provinces." Each prov- 

1 Chinese and Their Rebellions. 



ince iwS autonomous, with a difference. It is as in- 
dependent as an army corps, possessing the complete 
machinery of government, civil and military, educa- 
tional and fiscal, judicial and penal. The province 
administers its own revenue, provides for its own 
defense, holds its own competitive examinations, 
and performs all state functions without any inter- 
ference from the central government. Since October, 
1909, the province has had its own representative 
Assembly or Parliament. It is true that the func- 
tions of these bodies were fixed by edict as purely 
consultative, but it was clear from the first that they 
held more ambitious views. Officials are appointed 
from Peking, and each province has to remit tribute 
— or, as it may be called, its quota of the Imperial 
revenue — to the capital. This done, the province is 
freed from all interference from above. The whole 
duty of a governor may be summed up in two ar- 
ticles: Keep the peace and pay the tribute. The 
governor is absolute, the chain of responsibility in 
the ranks below him being complete. The provin- 
cial officials next in rank below the governor are the 
finance minister, the criminal judge, and the literary 
chancellor. The governor, however, is the only one 
who in his sole name enjoys the privilege of me- 
morializing the Throne, and, as he is thus in a posi- 
tion to report on all his subordinates, thereby wields 
absolute authority over them. We thus reach the 
last link in the chain. The district magistrate 
connects the official hierarchy with the people; the 
governor with the Throne. There remains, however, 
another high provincial officer, who is not essential 
to the system, since in certain cases he is dispensed 



with, and that is the tsung tu or chih tai, or governor- 
general. He usually superintends the affairs of two 
provinces (each with its own governor), and some- 
times only one (as in the cases of Chihli and Szechuan) , 
while some provinces, as Shantung, have no governor- 
general. This high authority is rather inaptly 
called "viceroy" by foreigners, a word which finds 
no equivalent in the Chinese title. Those best 
known are : The Viceroy of Chihli, the office held for 
twenty-four years by the late Li Hung Chang; the 
Viceroy of Kiangnan (Kiangsu, Anhwei, and Kiangsi 
provinces), whose capital is Nanking; the Viceroy of 
the Hu Kwang, or Liang Hu (Hunan and Hupei), 
whose residence is at Wuchang, on the Yangtse; the 
Viceroy of Min-Che (abbreviation for provinces of 
Fukien and Che kiang), who resides in Fuchau; the 
Viceroy of the Liang Kwang (the two Kwangs, 
Kwangtung and Kwangsi), whose capital is Canton; 
of Yun-Kwei (Yunnan and Kweichau), who resides 
at Yunnan fu; of Shen-Kan (Shensi and Kansu), 
who governs at Sian fu. 

Great as are the powers of governors and gover- 
nors-general, that of life and death is not one of 
them, except in certain special cases — such as piracy 
or crimes which may be construed into seditiousness 
— where drumhead court-martial would apply in 
Western countries. In ordinary cases no death- 
warrant can be signed save by the Emperor himself. 
As is notorious, the Chinese system in practice does 
not protect the accused from the misery of pro- 
tracted imprisonment. 

Two important characteristics of Chinese official- 
dom need to be constantly borne in mind by foreigns 



ers who desire to have a just appreciation of the 
merits and demerits of the man and of the system. 
The first is that the aspirant enters the ranks through 
the portal of competitive Hterary examinations. 
These examinations form, perhaps, the most re- 
markable feature in the whole fabric of Chinese 
polity; they are so ancient, and have taken such a 
complete hold of the ambitions of the people. No 
part of the administration is so minutely organized 
as this. The prize of a literary degree, and then a 
higher, and yet a higher, is the blue ribbon for 
which the whole nation seems to be contending; at 
once an honorable distinction and a passport to 
official appointment. As is explained in the chapter 
on ''The New Learning," the introduction of modern 
education has only modified the training; it has not 
altered the system. The gaining of the prize is an 
occasion of public festivity in the birthplace of the 
successful candidate. The results of the system 
are, as might be expected, both good and bad; but, 
at any rate, it has secured hitherto that every Chinese 
official shall be a scholar, and generally an expert 
in style and penmanship. Not only on entering the 
service, but in his subsequent career, the power of 
the pen serves its owner as well as the power of the 
tongue does in parliamentary countries. "Junius" 
would have risen to high office in China. One of 
the most prominent of the viceroys, the late Chang- 
Chih-tung, was just such another master of invective. 

The second characteristic follows naturally from 
the first and marks the shade in the picture. Scholar- 
ship being the essential qualification for office, no 
other was sought for, nor were the state functions 



so differentiated as that a young official could gain 
special training for any department of duty for which 
he might have particular aptitude. From the dis- 
trict magistrate upward one man has had to dis- 
charge many duties, as revenue officer, literary 
examiner, coroner, sheriff, prison inspector, and 
judge. From his induction into public service the 
young official has had to be j ack-of -all-trades ; and, 
even when in the higher grades some separation of 
function took place, it was a mere chance, or at least 
depended on no consideration of special fitness for 
the duties, whether one was promoted to be pro- 
vincial judge, literary chancellor, or provincial treas- 
urer. Although these conditions will now be modi- 
fied, under whatever form of rule, yet the ingrained 
characteristics of Chinese administration will not 
be lightly altered. No doubt this promiscuous ex- 
perience sharpens the general intelligence, and it is, 
perhaps, therefore, not so much a matter of sur- 
prise as it is sometimes thought that Chinese officials 
thrown into novel relations with foreigners should 
acquit themselves so well. Of course, the principal 
lesson of their lives is caution, which educates their 
instinct for evasion and delay. The reality, they 
think, will always keep, and it is never too late for 
compromise. Hence they become adepts at plaus- 
ible representations, which are so ingenious as to 
puzzle, and sometimes nonplus, an inexperienced 
foreigner who attempts to follow them through their 
mazes of argument. But they are not at all discon- 
certed when confronted with their own false premises. 
Honor is not stained by what is euphemistically 
termed by the Chinese ''big talk" — in other words, 



untruth. From the point of view of the efficiency 
of the government service, however, it is obvious 
that the jack-of -all-trades system must be fatal 
whenever an emergency arises. During the Jap- 
anese War its breakdown was conspicuous in the case 
of Li Hung Chang. He alone had to conduct the 
campaign, as Minister of War and as commander- 
in-chief of both army and navy, while at the same 
time he had to carry on his territorial duties as gov- 
ernor-general of a large province, his special duties 
as superintendent of trade, and numerous other 
functions. And all this without any organized staff ! 
Yet the Emperor and his advisers probably had no 
real insight into the reasons of their military collapse, 
so completely were they wrapped up in their tradi- 
tional practices, in military tactics two thousand 
years old, and in the bow-and-arrow exercises of the 
Manchu garrison in Peking. 

Taking the scheme as a whole, and as applicable 
to internal affairs, which were the sole concern of the 
Empire until fifty years ago, the Chinese administra- 
tion was very well thought out. The government 
neither attempted impossibilities itself nor expected 
miracles of its distant agents. It could not follow 
out the intricacies of every local question that might 
arise in so vast an Empire, so it cut every such con- 
sideration short by simply making the provincial 
authorities responsible for success, which amounted 
to little more, as has been said, than keeping the 
peace and paying the tribute.^ The ''barbarians" 

1 "Keeping the peace," however, includes the absolute obligation 
to discover and bring to justice an offender, an obligation which 
extends in an unbroken chain through all official grades from the 



on the coast were, of course, a serious element of 
disturbance, and a man who had a reputation for 
"soothing and bridling" them had a good chance of 
receiving an appointment at a treaty port. The es- 
sential thing always was to prevent the intruders 
from ever being heard of in the capital. 

Many precautions were devised to prevent any 
kind of malfeasance in the provinces, such precau- 
tions, indeed, as must h priori have commended them- 
selves to any wise ruler. For one thing, the term 
of office in one post was limited to three years. 
Further, a mandarin could not hold office in the 
province of his birth. By such means as these it 
was sought to guard against local interests growing 
up to compete with Imperial duty, and especially 
against territorial attachments which might be- 
come the bases of disloyalty to the Throne. Where 
distances were so great and communications so slow, 
such checks cannot have been considered to be super- 
fluous, but the drawbacks to the system are obvious, 
for it is the absence of local and territorial attach- 
ments which encourages some of the worst official 
abuses. Rapacity makes hay while the sun shines 
all the more ruthlessly when there is no tie of senti- 
ment between the parties, and no forebodings of 
reprobation in old age or retirement in the locality 
where the family of the official is domiciled. Neither 
in such a short term of office is an official likely to 

lowest to the highest, who are successively responsible, like the 
series of endorsers of a bill of exchange. No excuse for failure is 
admissible, and it is on this principle that the governor of a province 
is punished for a crime if he has not been vigilant enough to prevent 
it, or energetic enough to arrest the culprit. 



interest himself in, still less to spend his own money 
on, local improvements, such as roads and bridges, 
in a place which may know him no more during his 
whole official career. Some of the worst features of 
the Indian "nabob" system are thereby perpetuated. 

Checks of various other descriptions have been 
devised for keeping the mandarinate in the path of 
rectitude. The literary examinations and the grant- 
ing of degrees must always qualify an immense 
number of candidates for whom no immediate em- 
ployment can be found, and besides these the num- 
ber of officials temporarily out of office is always 
very large. These together form an army of ex- 
pectants who congregate about every provincial 
capital on the chance of something turning up. 
They are at the disposal of the governor to fill chance 
vacancies pro tern., to execute commissions, or to 
spy on the doings of other officials and make reports. 
It is in the ranks of these unemployed scribes that are 
found the chief literary assailants of foreign mis- 
sionaries, and the fomenters of riots based on gross 
imputations which they circulate by placard and 

A more organized form of precautionary measures 
is the institution of what is generally known as the 
"censorate," a body of men, fifty-six in number, who 
are appointed to "censure" in the various provinces 
and the capital itself whatever they see amiss in the 
conduct of any official, not even exempting the high- 
est personages, and to watch over the welfare of the 
people. The memorials which these censors pre- 
sent are . often wonderfully outspoken, and some- 
times are efficacious for good. Occasionally, how- 



ever, a too bold arraignment of the Imperial family 
draws down a fierce reprimand on the head of the 
author, and lucky for him if he escapes with that. 
It is interesting to know that the scheme of Re- 
publican government, as explained to the writer by 
Dr. Sun Yat Sen, includes the board of censors in 
a modified form. 

From the forms in use and the evident care that 
has been taken by the Imperial legislators to secure 
pure and efficient government, one would be justi- 
fied in concluding, on theoretical grounds, that the 
Chinese administration was a supremely good one; 
and those Western scholars who are engrossed in the 
study of Chinese lore have usually been inclined to 
that view. But between the theory and the prac- 
tice in politico-ethical affairs there is necessarily 
a great difference, which is strongly accentuated in 
China by the enormous extent of its public service 
and the extraordinary length of time during which 
abuses have been propagating themselves. Not only 
are exceptions made to all salutary regulations — for 
instance, Li Hung Chang held one office for over 
twenty years — but evasions have become so systema- 
tized that, as in the giant forests of the Himalaya 
one is puzzled to distinguish between the parasite 
and the tree round which its luxuriant foliage is en- 
twined, so in the Chinese administration the best 
principles are lost to view in a rank growth of false 
practice. Evasions have become legitimized by 
universal recognition. Peremptory orders are is- 
sued in the "tremble and obey" style. They are 
received with the profoundest obeisance, but they are 
not obeyed; and he who issued them forgets, or at 



least ignores them, and there is an end. The war 
operations with Japan were carried on in this same 
fashion. Sham is the all-pervading element which 
reduces the finest precepts to naught, and as ''they 
all do it," it seems to be considered that no one 
need feel aggrieved. Like a debased currency, it 
is as fair to buyer as to seller so long as it is current 
and no one is deceived. Perhaps one of the greatest 
difficulties to be faced by the Chinese reformer is the 
restoration of its face value to official speech. 

To reach the heart of the national weakness, how- 
ever, we must come to the apex of the pyramid, the 
central government itself.^ In all grades of the 
provincial service there is, in spite of the resources 
of evasion, a certain sense of responsibility, an ap- 
prehension of being called to account, the Argus eye 
of a master personated by an army of spies, a whole- 
some influence in keeping up efficiency, and even, to 
a certain extent, purity. But in Peking these checks 
fail through sheer familiarity. There one has noth- 
ing higher to defer to, nothing unseen to apprehend. 
A dissolute parent may, notwithstanding his own 
lapses, exercise a restraining influence on his family; 
but quis custodiet custodesf It is in the action of 
the central government, therefore, that we should 
expect to find the greatest inconsequence, the great- 
est vacillation, where gravitation has lost its direc- 
tion, where the needle has no pole to turn to. Only 
seclusion could hide the weakness and rottenness 
of the capital and of the Palace. The most casual 

^ This paragraph is left as written in 1897. The question of the 
central government is treated from the point of view of recent 
developments in later chapters. 

6 69 


visitor was met by proofs that the government of 
the city was far behind that of any provincial town. 
As a town, indeed, it was laid out on a magnificent 
scale, and it once had sewers of Titanic proportions. 
But the streets had become cesspools, worn into 
huge hollows, in which, during the summer rains, 
drowning was no uncommon thing for man and beast. 
Such as were the streets, such was the government. 
Its heart also had been worn away and become a 
receptacle for waste material. 

The rebuilding of Peking after the Boxer rising 
indicates the arrival of a new era, but the modern 
Peking, with well-laid streets, buildings, police, and 
Western appliances, was not accompanied by a 
regeneration in Court circles. It is easier to re- 
create a town than a dynasty. The Court became 
more than ever an anachronism. 

As has been well said by Mayers, the scheme of the 
central government of China was not to assume any 
initiative, but to control the action of the provincial 
administrators, to register their proceedings, to re- 
move them, and degrade or promote them as oc- 
casion may require. No legislative change or prog- 
ress seems to have been contemplated or provided 
for by the constitution. But as change was forced 
upon China from without, when the ''barbarians" 
would no longer rest satisfied with intercourse with 
subordinate provincial officials, some accommoda- 
tion had to be made by the Imperial authorities in 
order to admit of diplomatic relations in the capital. 
The first step in this direction was the establishment 
of what became familiar as the Tsungli Yamen by 
Imperial decree in January, 1861, which was orig- 



inally composed of three ministers, who were also 
members of other boards. This new creation never 
acquired any status or authority until the pressure 
of external events compelled the Emperor's Council 
to make use of it, and to recognize it as an integral 
part of the government. It was only in 1890 that 
it first figured in the Red Book, a complete record of 
state departments. Owing to the pressure put on 
China by the foreign Powers after the Boxer rising, 
the Tsungli Yamen became the Wai-wu-pu. The 
change of name was practically the only difference. 

Pressed also by the needs of the time, another 
board was constituted in 1890, which was to take the 
control of the navy out of the hands of Li Hung 
Chang. But there was no one connected with it 
who had any acquaintance with naval affairs; and 
when the Japanese War broke out in 1894, the mem- 
bers of the Board of Admiralty, none of whom knew 
a ship's stem from its stern, were fain to relinquish 
the control and let it revert to the one man who was 
deemed competent to take it. There was a talk 
of abolishing the institution after the war on the 
not unreasonable ground that there was no navy 
to manage. 

Another office may be mentioned in connection 
with foreign relations; it is that of the two superin- 
tendents of trade — one for the northern and one 
for the southern coast. The former has been held 
since 1870 by the Viceroy of Chihli, whose official 
residence is at Tientsin ; the latter by the Viceroy of 
the Laing Kiang, at Nanking. The first holder of the 
office in Tientsin was not, however, the viceroy (whose 
court was located in the provincial capital, Paoting 



fu, a city some two hundred miles inland), but a 
Manchu of high degree, named Chunghow, known to 
fame in connection first with the Tientsin massacre 
of 1870, and next with the Livadia treaty, which was 
repudiated in Peking and very nearly cost the envoy 
his head. The odium incurred by Chunghow in 
connection with the massacre was scarcely deserved. 
The latest administrative change, also indicative 
of the important part played by foreign relations, 
was the appointment in 19 10 of a commissioner for 
foreign affairs for each province, to take rank after 
the treasurer. 

An interesting circumstance applying to the whole 
administrative system has been that the officials 
are intensely laborious, hardly ever get a holiday 
except in case of serious illness or the time prescribed 
for mourning the death of a parent — which is also 
liable to be abrogated when the exigencies of the ser- 
vice demand it — and there is no superannuation. 
They must work, like a cab-horse, till they drop. 
Amusements, also, are denied them. A minister 
seen at a theater would be promptly denounced by a 
censor. This severe regime is necessarily depress- 
ing to the whole official body. Its strictness, of 
course, has led to evasion, and the Peking Gazette was 
sometimes filled with the tragi-comic memorials of 
provincial mandarins, who enter into the minutest 
details of their pathological condition in order to 
obtain a brief holiday or to be excused from obeying 
the Imperial summons to the capital. The success 
of such appeals probably depends more on judicious 
palmistry than on the actual merits of the case. 

Were it possible for us to set up the complete 



skeleton of Chinese polity, of which we have pre- 
sented a very meager sketch, we should still have 
gone but a short way toward a real apprehension 
of either its methods or its motives. For that, the 
dry bones must be clothed in flesh and blood, and we 
should need to know something of the cerebral func- 
tions of the organism, which experience alone can 
teach, and even that slowly and imperfectly. The 
closest observer will constantly be obliged to correct 
one observation by another, and the longer he lives 
the more he will feel the necessity of revising his 
generalizations. So much being premised, a few 
salient features of Chinese political psychology may 
be not unprofitably studied. The machine being 
fitted together, the dual question is. What sets it in 
motion, and what is it set to accomplish? To this, 
the general answer must of course be : The same im- 
pulse that sets every political machine in the world 
in motion, and for the same ends — individual am- 
bition tempered by public spirit. Out of this com- 
bination the best and the worst results are obtained, 
depending on the proportions in which the two ele- 
ments are blended. In the government of China 
hitherto we need not hesitate to affirm that the mix- 
ture has not been a favorable one, the personal being 
unduly preponderant over the altruistic factor. 
That government, moreover, exhibited the widest 
discrepancy of any known system between theory 
and practice, the purest ideal cloaking the grossest 
aims; a terrible example, in fact, of corruptio optimi 
pessima. And the preternatural exaltation of the 
ideal places it so far beyond the reach of the highest 
attainment in real life that the standard of public 



duty, lost in the clouds of inflated verbiage, is wholly 
disconnected from practical affairs. It would, there- 
fore, be quite in vain to seek the key to the politics 
of Peking in any theory which could be deduced from 
official utterances, constitutional formulae, or codes 
of law. The remark applies, of course, to every 
government in the world. But the difference is that 
whereas in other countries there is still some relation 
between the profession and the procedure — as, for 
instance, when the minor is alleged as the major 
reason — this relation practically disappeared in 
China, and the substitution of the false for the true 
has become an organized system, already conse- 
crated by unwritten law. 

We have spoken of the reign of sham in the general 
administration ; but it has had its roots in the central 
government. It may be laid down as a general 
rule obtaining throughout the public life of the Em- 
pire that things are never what they seem. Whether 
there may or may not be a real patriotic spirit in 
China among officials or people, there has been little 
outward evidence of it in the inner circles of the 
capital. Instead of defending the Empire and the 
Dynasty the natural defenders have seemed ready to 
sell both, and it is a problem how far even the Dynas- 
ty was true to itself. Each individual among the 
ministers of state and the princes of the Empire 
has been intent on * ' saving his own skin ' ' by mak- 
ing friends of the strongest invader. For many 
years the politics of Peking were swayed by a bitter 
Palace feud, the young Emperor and his party on 
one side, the late Empress- Dowager on the other. 
Of a passionate nature and imperious will, inspired 



by purely selfish considerations, the Empress- 
Dowager dominated and even terrorized the Em- 
peror, who was of feeble physique and incapable of 
wielding the authority which belonged to him. Into 
this quarrel the courtier Li Hung Chang and the 
soldier Yuan Shih-kai were thrust. The position 
of the former nearly cost him his head on his return 
from concluding the humiliating treaty with Japan 
in 1895, for the Emperor's adherents endeavored to 
compass his death first by assassination, and next 
by quasi- judicial process on the ground of treachery. 
These designs were frustrated by the countermining 
of the Empress, who struck sudden terror into the 
opposite party, and then, to get her protege out of 
harm's way for a while, manoeuvered him into the 
post of special envoy to Russia in 1896. Quelled 
for the time, however, the conspirators waited an 
opportunity to revenge their defeat. Li Hung 
Chang's fate hung on the protection of her whom he 
served so long and so faithfully, and fortunately for 
him she outlived him. Yuan, on the contrary, lost 
his mistress and protectress at a most critical moment. 
But Palace intrigues and the warfare of powerful 
ministers interested the Chinese people less and less. 
They asked themselves how a government could 
voluntarily surrender its territory and itself to an 
invader without an attempt at resistance? Where 
matters have come to such a pass as that, we may 
almost as well discuss the machinery of the govern- 
ment of Babylon as that of Peking, so far as the 
practical interests of the day are concerned. China, 
like a pear, was most rotten at the core. 

The woman factor is a potent one in Chinese 



government, but never in a worthy sense. His- 
toric courtezans become empresses make profitable 
subjects for literary portraiture and description, but 
they have usually marked the debacle of a dynasty; 
and in meaner capacities women have played their 
part in the intrigues of court and camp. How much 
the collapse of China may be due to the personal 
qualities of the real but illegitimate ruler for years, 
the late Empress-Dowager, may not be known, but 
there seems to be no doubt that every surrender made 
to foreigners while she held the reins was dictated 
by her and her personal convenience. Remembering 
her experience when, as the secondary consort of the 
Emperor Hienfung, she followed him in his flight 
to Jehol, she resolved rather to yield everything than 
risk such an experience again. A threat of the in- 
vasion of Peking — if believed in — was always suf- 
ficient to bring her to terms. When the late Em- 
peror was prepared to abandon the capital during the 
Japanese War, and resist to the bitter end, it was that 
imperious lady who insisted on peace at any price; 
and 'it was chiefly on her sensitive feelings that 
foreign threats took effect. The constant sur- 
renders which were the features of Chinese foreign 
policy in her day were largely responsible for the grow- 
ing discontent of the Chinese with Manchu govern- 
ment, and the Empress Tze Hsi, so eulogized by 
feminine press writers in Europe and America, cer- 
tainly did a great deal to destroy respect for the 
Throne. Nevertheless, she was clever and strong- 
willed, and therefore had a better grasp of affairs 
than her successors. 

Official and political corruption occupies such a 



prominent place in most treatises on matters Chinese, 
that it is commonly regarded as something peculiar 
to that nation. The peculiarity, however, lies 
rather in the extent and the organization than in the 
nature, or even the form, of the Chinese system of 
peculation. In substance it is the same which pre- 
vails in the Western hemisphere, where it is called 
' ' perquisites . ' ' That this destructive parasite should 
have attained a higher development in China than 
elsewhere may very well be accounted for by the 
circumstances under which that country itself has 
developed. The extent of territory and relative 
difficulty of control, multiplied by the number of 
centuries during which customs (good and bad) 
have been growing, would yield a product adequate 
to account for both the magnitude and the method- 
ization of Chinese embezzlement. 

Though universally condoned, the system is, of 
course, illegal, and, just as certain forms of mal- 
practice which are winked at in Western countries 
come, occasionally, into awkward collision with the 
judges, so officials who have enriched themselves in 
China continue to be at the mercy of blackmailers. 
The liability to denunciation and ruin which thus 
hangs over them goes a long way toward accounting 
for the universal timidity of Chinese statesmen. 
Yet the individual is as much to be pitied as blamed, 
for against the system which has come down from 
venerable antiquity it would be as hard to struggle 
as against one's personal heredity. Fair considera- 
tion should be extended to the rank-and-file im- 
plicated in a debasing system which it requires real 
heroism to resist ; for here, as in the midst of a slave- 



owning society or in the bondage of vice, there are 
those who would welcome a way of escape from the 
necessity of their lives, as well as those who revel 
in the full current of it. 

The root of the matter, no doubt, lies in the fact 
that Chinese officials have, hitherto, been virtually 
unpaid, their merely nominal salaries being insuf- 
ficient for their necessary expenses. Hence the 
official naturally obtained as much gratuitous ser- 
vice as possible, under the tacit understanding that 
his dependents must take care of themselves, while, 
at the same time, he must cast about for the where- 
withal to maintain his family and position. From 
this simple beginning the whole complex system of 
what we call peculation may be traced.^ The young- 
er officials begin life, as a rule, in debt; they have 
frequently had to pay for their appointments, bor- 
rowing for the purpose at usurious interest, and they 
have to go on paying their official superiors on pain 
of being reported on. The highest personages in the 
Empire receive large gratuities from officials gazetted 
to the provinces, and become rich from that source. 
And when a term of lucrative service is over and the 
governor or prefect is graciously summoned to Court 
— an honor which he strives to escape, as a rule — 
it is in order that the sponge which has been absorb- 
ing in the provinces may be squeezed in the capital. 
The cow has been turned into the green corn, de- 
stroying more than she has eaten; she must come 
home to be milked. One highly lucrative post — 

^ Meadows assumes the highest mandarins to get by means of 
"squeeze" about ten times, the lowest about fifty times, the amount 
of their legal incomes. 



that of Hoppo, or collector of native customs at 
Canton — was specially reserved for some worthy 
connection of the Imperial family, who was expected 
to amass so much in three years as to be able to deal 
handsomely by his kinsfolk on his return to the 
capital. This post was abolished in 1904 as **no 
longer profitable," owing no doubt to the regulariz- 
ing of the customs service since 1901. An official 
incurs no odium and loses no good name unless his 
exactions are excessive or lead to public scandal. 
In the rare case of a veteran being made to publicly 
disgorge, it is only the computed excess that is dealt 
with. But, obviously, when such a matter is left 
to the conscience of the interested party (with no 
fear of an audit, unless he, from overweening con- 
fidence in his influence, is niggardly toward the 
censors) the door is thrown wide open to the most 
extravagant abuses. As no official is expected to 
render a true account, and there is no machinery for 
checking him that would not itself need, in turn, to 
be checked, the sovereign of an Oriental country — 
for China is no exception — would get no revenue at 
all under a fiduciary system. To meet this case, the 
revenue collection is simplified by fixed levies — taxes 
are farmed, monopolies are granted, and thus the 
most powerfiil stimulus is supplied to the concession- 
aires to raise as large a surplus as possible for them- 
selves. The provinces are assessed in a similar 
manner for their quota of the Imperial revenue.^ 

^ . . Each district has a fixed quota, which the magistrate must 
produce by hook or by crook, but beyond the minimum all the 
rest is practically his own, not to keep exactly, because if he holds 
a lucrative appointment he is expected to be extra liberal in his 



The arrangement is, of course, clumsy and waste- 
ful in the highest degree. It is beyond our purpose 
to follow its ramifications, and show in detail how 
extremely injurious it is to the national interests and 
how demoralizing to the civil service itself. A 
single illustration will show how the system operates 
on public affairs. Foreigners who serve the Chinese 
and have to get money for public purposes are some- 
times surprised at the seeming contradictions in the 
official temper. They will, for example, plead in 
vain for small outlays for repairs or upkeep of build- 
ings, while the demand for a large sum to erect new 
ones is granted readily. The reason is that no one 
is interested in the small expenditure, while the large 
one affords an opportunity of intercepting a worthy 
percentage. The lower official recommends the out- 
lay, his superior sanctions it — and they share the 
profit or commission. The practice is, of course, 
ruinous in military matters, for it starves the service, 
while lavishing large sums on heavy guns and ships. 
Thus the Chinese had at Port Arthur and Talienwan, 
during the Japanese War, the heaviest fortress guns, 
enormously costly, the contracts for which made the 
fortunes of certain officials, but the men trained to 
use the guns were entirely neglected. The rule has 

presents to the governor, to the literary chancellor, to the pro- 
vincial judge, the treasurer, and so on, not to mention still higher 
dignitaries, if he wishes to get on. But there is no magistracy that 
does not at least make up its limits of taxation and leave something 
over, while the greater number leave a handsome surplus. To 
hand this over to the Imperial Exchequer is about the last thing 
that any one would think of doing. It is the fund out of which mainly 
the fortunes of viceroys and commissioners have been built up." 
(G. Jamieson, Foreign Office Reports, 1897). 



been that the Chinese officials would promote that 
enterprise which afforded them the largest douceur, 
and the possibilities of material progress in China 
depended chiefly on the operation of that principle. 
Estimates are sometimes made of the loss of public 
revenue from wasteful modes of collection, a small 
percentage only of what is taken from the people 
being returned to the treasury. Yet it is doubtful 
whether the pecuniary loss is more ruinous to the 
country than the destruction, in the governing class, 
of public spirit, which is the necessary consequence 
of the wealth of the country being made the sub- 
ject of a scramble in which every official of the Em- 
pire, up to princes of the blood, have heretofore been 
engaged. We know, by our own Western experience, 
how demoralizing is a scramble, no matter what the 
object of it may be. 

The most important feature in most adminis- 
trations is the method of raising revenue. As has 
been several times repeated, the central government 
in China evaded the principal difficulty by fixing the 
responsibility on the shoulders of the provincial 
officials. The Imperial revenue is derived from two 
main sources (apart from tribute and certain monop- 
olies) — the contributions from provinces, and the 
Imperial maritime customs. As to the first, it is 
chiefly derived by the provinces from the land tax, 
which is an ancient institution in China, and was 
supposed to be proportioned to the original value 
in rent. In the year 17 13 the Emperor, in a reckless 
and unprincipled effort to acquire popularity at the 
expense of future generations, decreed that the 
amount of the tax should be fixed and immutable for 



all time, with only authorized reductions in case of 
drought and flood. But, though the assessment is 
made on a value of two hundred years ago, the oc- 
cupier of the land (who for the most part will be 
treated as the owner) does not get off quite as easily 
as he might, for he has to pay a surcharge as "cost 
of collecting," and this is fixed by the tax-collector 
at an amount which allows a margin not only for 
himself but for the officials above him. This sur- 
charge must be disputed between taxpayer and tax- 
collector each year, and forms the subject for bar- 
gains on both sides. Then there is an allowance 
to be made for melt age, as the money may have to be 
converted into other currency more than once before 
it reaches the Imperial treasury. The most reliable 
foreign observers, such as Mr. Jamieson and Sir 
Robert Hart, have estimated the taxable capacity 
of land in China considerably higher than the sup- 
posed yield. Under a different system of adminis- 
tration it is probable that the tax would have to be 
increased, since the central authority will obviously 
need a much larger revenue if it is to pay the officials 
instead of expecting them to help themselves. There 
is probably no feature of Occidental administration 
which is less congenial to Asiatics than what they con- 
sider our soulless cut-and-dried method of taxation, 
as inevitable and undiscriminating as old age! No 
chance of a bargain or evasion, no scope for individual 
skill — nothing but **pay, pay, pay!" Some such 
feeling as this will have to be encountered and over- 
come before China can place her administration of 
revenue on a proper footing. Only acquaintance 
with the advantages of good public services will 



discount the aversion to paying for them steadily 
and systematically. 

Customs receipts form the second great item in the 
Imperial budget. Statistics and information re- 
garding what is known as the ''native customs" 
are hard to come by. Land stations are established 
at various points ; but their receipts are a matter only 
for themselves, so long as they transmit punctually 
the sum at which they are assessed. In 1901 all 
native customs within fifteen miles of a treaty port 
were transferred to the Maritime Customs Depart- 
ment, with the result that irregular collections are 
abolished and a full collection is made and reported. 
In view of the present situation it is interesting to 
inquire what are the principal sources of Imperial 
funds. ^ The land tax will be at the disposal of the 
central government, unless indeed the people, who 
usually connect revolution with "no taxation," 
refuse to pay. This is estimated at Tls. forty-nine 
millions.^ The tax in kind on the provinces known 
as ''tribute," commuted in some cases for a money 
payment, will not be paid in future. The tea and 
salt tax account for some Tls. forty-seven millions. 
The latter will be difficult to collect, being partly 
in official and partly in non-official hands, with a 
very confused and corrupt system. A large item is 
likin — Tls. forty-four millions — but this serious 

^ See Appendix III. 

2 The possible collection was estimated by Mr. G. Jamieson 
some twenty years ago as Tls. 375,000,000, and by Sir Robert Hart 
at Tls. 400,000,000; but Sir Robert Bredon (and he speaks with 
authority) estimates this, "with a crude resurvey of the land," 
at Tls. 100,000,000. Other authorities estimate it at a considerably 
higher figure. 



barrier to trade has been abolished. A large and by- 
far the most reliable asset is the revenue collected 
by the Imperial maritime customs — Tls. thirty- 
five millions net (given as Tls. forty-two millions in 
Imperial budget, 191 1) — and there can be no more 
crucial question to-day than the problem of how this 
foreign operated and controlled department of the 
Chinese administration is to act while the future 
government of China remains undetermined and 
there is no real central power to deal with. The 
revenue could be legitimately raised, according to 
Sir Robert Bredon, late inspector - general of cus- 
toms, by about Tls. eighty millions. 

The Imperial maritime customs, under foreign 
direction, grew out of Chinese necessities, not foreign 
demands. The Taiping rebellion destroyed Im- 
perial administration up to the gates of the foreign 
settlement of Shanghai ; and, as there was no one to 
collect the dues, the foreigners themselves appointed 
a board of three inspectors to perform this duty and 
hand over the revenues. When Imperial authority 
was restored, a considerable section of the trading 
community wished to return to the old Chinese 
method, which they described as easier and less oner- 
ous, but instead of this a commission on tariffs 
decided that the foreign inspectorate should be ex- 
tended to all the treaty ports. The man selected 
for this post was Horatio Lay, and when he failed to 
agree with his Chinese employers and fell, Mr. 
Robert Hart, who had acted for him during his ab- 
sence, succeeded him (1861). The part played by 
the G." in China during the second half of the 
nineteenth century, both as a most successful ad- 



ministrator and the unofficial channel of com- 
munication between China and Great Britian, is 
a chapter of history which yet remains to be written. 

The business of the customs is to collect duty, 
not only on imports from foreign countries, but also 
on exports, whether abroad or to other Chinese 
ports. They collect tonnage dues on shipping, 
transit dues on foreign imports conveyed inland, and, 
since 1889, likin on foreign opium. For a con- 
siderable period the superior staff was recruited en- 
tirely from foreign sources, but an increasing num- 
ber of Chinese have been drafted in. Although such 
a system, under a man of different caliber from Sir 
Robert Hart, might have become an imperium in 
imperio, no such development has taken place. 
The service has always been as loyal as it is efficient. 

Out of the Maritime Customs Department devel- 
oped one of the most important reforms in China — - 
the establishment of a modern post system, which has 
been administered for the past two years as an in- 
dependent department, under a foreign controller, 
M. Piry. It is impossible to overestimate the part 
played by this improved service in the awakening 
of China. At present there are three departments 
under the inspector-general of customs — the Revenue 
Department, Marine Department (with engineer, 
harbor and lights' staff, for the construction and 
working of lights and for harbor and coast work), 
and (nominally) an educational department. 

Attempts have been made during recent years to 
reform the currency, which is in a lamentable state 
of confusion. The coinage used by the people is the 
cash, forty of which go to one penny and nine thou- 
7 85 


sand six hundred to one pound. The tael or Hang 
is a silver standard, the weight and quality of which 
vary in different parts of the country; the Haikwan 
tael (in which duties are paid to the Imperial mari- 
time customs) has a value of about 25. Sd. An 
Imperial decree of May, 19 10, ordered that the yuan, 
or silver dollar, should be the standard, and that 
after twelve months all payments were to be made 
on that basis. An agreement for a loan of ten 
million pounds, to be devoted to the reform of cur- 
rency and the industrial development of Manchuria, 
and to be advanced in equal shares by British, 
American, French, and German banks, was signed 
on April 15, 191 1. A decree establishing a uniform 
system of weights and measures was issued in 1907, 
but the confusion in this respect is still an unabated 
chaos. ^ 

A very fascinating article could be written on the 
methods and incidents in the transmission of letters 
and documents in China from prehistoric times. A 
literary people like the Chinese naturally did not 
neglect facilities for the exchange of written matter. 
It is well known that long before we had any 
such convenience they had adopted a system for 
transferring not only news but money about their 
vast country. It was only in the last years that 
government undertook postal duties for any other 
than official purposes. The official mail service 
and a foreign-initiated system to and from the treaty 
ports were in existence, but ordinary people belonged 

1 Those who wish to study the intricacies of these questions and 
of trade generally may be referred to Mr. H. B. Morse's Trade and 
Administration of the Chinese Empire. 



to postage hongs, run by merchants like any other 
form of business, and on the whole very efficient. 
The hongs find it yearly more difficult to flourish in 
competition with a cheap Imperial service, which 
is run at a loss. Uniformity of rates is not attrac- 
tive to the Chinese, who, without meanness, always 
want to make a bargain. The letter hongs meet 
their views by having different rates for different 
classes of service. They do not have limited hours 
of service — essential in a government post-office — 
but keep open all day and the best part of the night. 
But despite all this there is no doubt that the hongs 
are doomed, and that the operation of a public 
service has enormously increased the volume of 
correspondence, and facilitated that disposal of 
newspapers and modern literature which has had so 
marked an effect on Chinese development. There 
are countries in the world, with nothing like China's 
area and population, which are not so well off for 
postal and telegraphic facilities. 

This sketch of Chinese government and adminis- 
tration, slight as it must necessarily be, will give 
some idea of the anomalies and confusion existing 
in the year 191 2. The Manchu dynasty, tottering 
to its fall (unless a miracle happens), typifies the old 
regime. The provincial parliaments and the reor- 
ganized postal system are at the other end of the 
scale. Whatever be the outcome of the present up- 
heaval, no student of the progress of China along the 
path of political evolution in the last ten years can 
fail to recognize the energy and virility of her people. 
We have been accustomed to speak of stagnation in 
China; no one has ever suggested that, apart from 



her rulers, China suffered from decay. The virility, 
the energy, and, in the present crisis, the self-control 
of the nation are self-evident; and China, which 
has long been a crying exception to the well-known 
aphorism, should eventually get the government she 




IT is natural that every serious observer of Chinese 
Hf e should exercise his mind on the causes of the 
nation's longevity. Several of our best writers, 
including the more philosophical, have, with a 
considerable amount of confidence, assigned quasi- 
scientific grounds for the perpetuity of China in de- 
fiance of what over the rest of the earth's surface has 
been the "law of nations" — the succession of youth, 
maturity, and decay. It is due to the form of govern- 
ment, say some, the principles of government, the 
principle of selection of officials, the chain of re- 
sponsibility, the literature, the maxims of Confucius 
and Mencius, filial piety and the promise attached to 
the Fifth Commandment (the only ' ' commandment, ' ' 
the other nine being prohibitions) of the Mosaic 
decalogue, and so on. We cannot consider any one 
or all of these, or sundry other explanations, as satis- 
factory; neither do we presume to offer one. The 
true cause of Chinese permanence is probably very 
complex, and it will require a good deal more of 
sympathetic and persevering study before the phi- 
losophy of the Chinese race and policy can be for- 
mulated in any acceptable manner. 

But of the contributory causes of a national 



vitality which has vanished all conquerors, certainly 
not the least interesting is the faculty of local self- 
government which runs in the Chinese blood/ 
While it may help to prevent the development of 
nationality in its wide sense, this quality of the race 
keeps alive the constituents of nationality in separate 
small communities, and in a form as indestructible 
as protoplasm, which cannot in fact be broken up 
except by extermination. Or they may be likened 
to an infinite multitude of water-tight cells, which 
keep the whole mass afloat in the most turbulent 
sea. And supplementing the family and village 
groups which lie at the bottom of the national life, 
which are rooted in the soil and have their fixed 
rallying-points visible to the public eye, are an indef- 
inite number of other groupings — special, variable, 
not territorially attached — which are the sponta- 
neous outcome of felt needs, wherein professions, 
classes, interests, and aims form the organic pivot. 
This disposition of the Chinese people to arrange 
themselves in special organizations or coteries is 
clearly congenital and its action automatic, as in the 
elective affinity of crystals, for they carry it with 

1 "Amid all political convulsions the people have remained un- 
changed, and that mainly because they are a non-political people. 
They are indifferent to affairs of state, but intent on their own 
business. Yet they have the faculty of self-government developed 
in an eminent degree. They are quiet, orderly, and industrious; 
averse to agitation of any kind, and ready to endure great sacrifices 
for the sake of peace. Such a people are easily governed, and their 
instinct of self-government is one important element in their longev- 
ity as a nation: it has enabled successive dynasties, often weak and 
vacillating, arbitrary and corrupt, to control three hundred millions 
of people. This constitutes the elasticity by which they regain lost 
ground." {The Siberian Overland Route, A. Michie, 1864.) 



them wherever they go ; and of them it may be truly 
said that wherever two or three are gathered to- 
gether they will promptly form themselves into a 
''society" of some sort. 

In treating of the Chinese government in a pre- 
vious chapter, the two heterogeneous departments 
— that which is indigenous to the soil and that which 
has been imposed from without or from above — were 
indicated. There can be little doubt which of the 
two is the more ancient, and, paradoxical though the 
statement may seem, there is equally little doubt 
which is the more authoritative. It is the peasant 
who rules, by a human right which no ''Son of 
Heaven" dares to question. It has been the wis- 
dom of successive dynasties to respect this "law of 
the land," to protect the people in all their privileges, 
and to base on this universal suffrage their own 
right to reign. In the Shuking — that most ancient 
classic — three canons of government are laid down, 
of which one is "That the people have the right to 
depose a sovereign who, either from active wicked- 
ness or vicious indolence, gives cause to oppressive 
or tyrannical rule." "Public opinion," says Hue, 
' ' is always ready to check any excesses on the part of 
the Emperor, who could not, without exciting general 
indignation, dare to violate the rights of any of his 
subjects"; and again, "though they are, in general, 
submissive to authority, when it becomes too 
tyrannical or merely fraudulent, the Chinese some- 
times rise and bend it to their will." The evidently 
wide-spread discontent with the dynasty, which 
culminated in the 191 1 revolution, can be traced to 
an interruption in this time-honored scheme of re- 



lations between rulers and ruled. Foreign relations 
forced upon the central government not only a 
responsibility, but a line of action, in which the 
Chinese people were not — could not be — consulted. 
The cessions of territory to foreigners in itself con- 
stituted an abrogation of the rights of the subject. 
Confucius represents the sovereignty as a sacred mis- 
sion intrusted for the time being to the "Son of 
Heaven," but a successful revolutionary easily be- 
comes the Elect of Heaven. 

The rights of the people are primarily the posses- 
sion of their land, freedom of industry and trade, 
and the control of their local affairs. As to the 
land, the Emperor is in theory the sole proprietor 
of the soil — a convenient legal fiction ; but in practice 
his right is limited to the collection of the land tax, 
except in case of rebellion or other cause of forfeiture. 
And it is a fundamental law of the Empire that the 
land tax can never be increased. No people in the 
world, says Richthofen, are more exempt from official 

Nevertheless, the two great systems, a centralized 
autocracy and a democratic self-government, are far 
from homogeneous; they resemble two extensive 
alien territories possessing a long common frontier. 
With the greatest submissiveness on the one side 
and the most prudent accommodation on the other, 
there must be friction and occasional aggressions. 
The benevolence of the Emperor, when filtered down 
through nine grades of officials, might be turned to 
vexation and sheer tyranny when it reached the last 
rank, which is in contact with the people. The 
question must therefore be never absent from con- 



sideration how the people are to defend themselves 
from arbitrary officials; and, as the question must 
have arisen in primitive times, it has, of course, been 
long since answered by experience. In public affairs 
the people have no share whatever; the elective 
principle does not operate above the village or group 
of villages, whose head man is the go-between, the 
joint, between the people and the government. But 
it is a weak joint, quite inadequate to the duties 
expected of it, and is only maintained in working 
order by being spared, as much as possible, the strain 
of actual use. Having no representative system 
through which their grievances could be made 
known, the censors would appear to be the sole con- 
stitutional machinery for the protection of the people 
from rapacity or tyranny. But they number only 
two to a province as large as a kingdom, and they 
share in the common corruption, so that there is 
practically no means provided by the state whereby 
the oppressed may obtain a hearing in the superior 
courts. This seems a serious defect in a system 
which is so elaborate and which is based on popular 
content. But what the framers of the constitution 
have failed to supply in a regular manner the exi- 
gencies of their life have compelled the nation to pro- 
vide by irregular means. In the absence of a tri- 
bunal they simply take the law into their own hands 
— a rough-and-ready, cruel, and often disastrous 
remedy for grievances. In small local questions the 
populace will sometimes resent an imposition by 
seizing the official sent to enforce it, dragging him 
by the heels out of his sedan-chair, pulling his official 
boots off — a great indignity — and throwing him into 



the nearest ditch. That ends the matter: it is the 
last court of appeal. The magistrate who has failed 
is reprimanded as incompetent, and sent to another 
part of the country, although the governor who thus 
condemns him be himself the culpable party. In 
this we see how much officialism in China resembles 
that in Christian countries. 

When the grievance is more wide-spread and is long 
continued and the officials are obstinate, there may 
be what is called a ''local rising," which has to be 
put down by massacre, else the smoking flax may 
spread to a conflagration. And this, the ultimate 
remedy in the West, is the proximate remedy in the 
East, for want of any adequate intermediate machin- 
ery of redress. 

Thus the sacred ''right of rebellion" has asserted 
itself in China. Meadows, writing in the midst of 
the Taiping devastation and in immediate touch 
with its horrors, justified it by elaborate arguments, 
and showed historically that such outbreaks had been 
an essential feature in the nation's development. 
China has, indeed, been called the classic ground of 
revolutions, as many as twelve having occurred be- 
tween A.D. 420 and 1644. Rebellions have been in- 
numerable. The Empire is never, indeed, free from 
them; they are of all dimensions and of varied 
durations. During the past sixty years there have 
been many important ones. The province of Yun- 
nan has been depopulated by them; likewise Kwei- 
chau; several times have serious rebellions, besides 
that of Yakub Beg, arisen among the Mohammedans 
in the northwest of China proper itself; the great 
Taiping calamity has been followed by numerous 



smaller insurrections in a considerable number of 
the provinces. 

In the rebellion of 1865 — when China lost control 
of Shensi, Kansu, and Kashgaria — the operations 
were carried on in the usual desultory Chinese fash- 
ion. Tso, who crushed the rebellion, had as many as 
one hundred thousand troops under his command, 
and was more energetic than is usual; but it was by 
making roads, by starving out the towns, and es- 
pecially by the employment of diplomacy — namely, 
by the judicious use of "rewards," and by winning 
over the Mohammedan religious leaders through 
titles and buttons — that the Chinese ''strategy" 
eventually was successful. 

The rebellion in Kansu, in 1896, was conducted in 
much the same fashion, but the Mohammedans were 
in smaller numbers and showed a less decided front. 
In their risings the Moslems have always failed for 
want of concerted action ; they work in isolated bands, 
and therefore were only able to devastate the coun- 
try, cut off straggling bodies of the Chinese troops, 
or massacre the inhabitants of outlying villages. 
Nothing could possibly have demonstrated more 
clearly in recent times the total absence, on the part 
of the Chinese, of the organization and discipline 
necessary in modern warfare than the campaign con- 
ducted by the Chinese in Kansu. And yet for the 
particulars of that civil war we are indebted to the 
missionaries, the whole episode hardly obtaining a 
paragraph in the Western press. 

Whatever provocation there may have been for 
the original outbreak in any or all of these cases, it 
was completely eclipsed by the atrocities of the in- 



surgents; and the conclusion that the average man 
would probably arrive at in balancing the pros and 
cons would be the very obvious one that the remedy 
was worse than the disease. Yet these scourges do 
serve a purpose — that of holding up to the authori- 
ties the risk of an uprising wherever there is mis- 
government; a fear which weighs on all provincial 
officials and imbues them with their guiding prin- 
ciple of action, peace-at-any-price. The clearest 
line of demarcation must be observed between all 
previous rebellions and that of 1911-12. This has 
been, not a popular rising against local officials or 
against foreigners, but a combination of provincial 
officials, literati y and men of the highest standing 
against the Manchu race and dynasty. Whole prov- 
inces have "gone over" to the rebel side without a 
blow. Moreover, save for a few regrettable mas- 
sacres of Manchus, the proceedings have been con- 
ducted in an orderly fashion. 

The Chinese people, however, have other and less 
tragic methods of expressing themselves, and of 
maintaining democratic rights as against the ag- 
gressions of despotism. The most notorious are 
their secret societies. Some of these aim at revolu- 
tion, as the great Triad Society (Heaven, Earth, 
and Man), which seeks more "light" {ming)\ but, as 
"Ming" was also the appellation of the last native 
dynasty, Giles suggests that the word is used in the 
latter sense. It is not easy to get at the real objects 
or the actual working of this and other "secret" 
societies; else were the epithet a misnomer. They 
have been frequently proscribed, and secrecy is main- 
tained even as to membership. Some facts, however, 



are obtainable respecting them where large bodies of 
Chinese happen to settle in British or Dutch colo- 
nies. Even there, also, the Triads were at one time 
feared and proscribed by law; but for many years 
past they have been recognized, as trade-unions have 
been in Great Britain, and perfectly good relations 
now subsist between them and the colonial govern- 
ments of Hongkong and Singapore. Mr. W. A. 
Pickering, who, as Protector of Chinese in the Straits 
Administration, had special opportunities of inform- 
ing himself regarding the organizations of the brother- 
hood, has given many interesting particulars con- 
cerning them. Some accounts of the establishment 
of the Triad Society in 1674 is given in the intro- 
ductions to its manuals, and in a sketch of the his- 
tory of the society since its creation, which Mr. 
Pickering had occasion to study. In its origin it was 
a purely political society ; but it had in time become 
the refuge for doubtful characters, who use the or- 
ganization for their own purposes, lawless or other- 
wise — for prosecuting vendetta warfare, and so forth. 
The funds are raised by general subscription, levied 
chiefly upon the gambling establishments in the 
various districts, and the "lodges" or branches are 
in effect so many rival organizations. A society 
which gained greater and more unenviable notoriety 
was the Boxers, of which mention is made elsewhere. 
At one time, under the guise of athletics, a good deal 
of time was spent by secret societies in drill and 
martial exercises. The anti-dynastic propaganda 
has been carried on vigorously through the medium 
of these clubs, and China is literally honeycombed 
with them. 



Whatever the original aim of these societies, they 
have frequently wandered far from it, in the process 
of time and under changing circumstances, and have 
tended to become the tools of private schemers or 
the hobbies of busybodies and agitators. As the 
reason for their existence ceased (as is the case in 
British colonies) they became more and more de- 
graded. But, so long as the organization was kept 
up and the ritual was carried out, the society was 
ready to be put to any use which might tempt its 
leaders. While waiting for higher game, the wire- 
pullers have busied themselves in plots to obstruct 
the execution of local laws, whether in China or in 
foreign countries where the Chinese congregate. 

Some societies may be properly termed sects, 
seeing that they require a strict observance of cer- 
tain rules of private conduct. Vegetarian societies 
are common, and the Tsai li sect, in northern China, 
which enjoins abstinence not only from animal food, 
but from alcohol and narcotics, is said to number 
two hundred thousand members. Even these, how- 
ever, on occasion play a political part; and an out- 
break in Mongolia in 1891, which became an in- 
surrection, originated in a misunderstanding between 
the Tsai li sect and the Catholic converts and priests 
— a quarrel which had no relation to religion or 
morals, but to purely mundane interests. 

The great fact to be noted, as between the Chinese 
and their quondam government, is the almost un- 
exampled liberty which the people enjoyed, and the 
infinitesimally small part which government played 
in the scheme of national life. It is the more neces- 
sary to emphasize this, that a contrary opinion is not 



uncommon among those who are unacquainted with 
the country. The Chinese have perfect freedom of 
industry and trade, of locomotion, of amusement, 
and of reHgion; and whatever may be required for 
regulation or protection is not supplied by act of 
Parliament or by any kind of government inter- 
ference, but by voluntary associations. Of these the 
government takes no cognizance, though it may some- 
times come into collision with them — never to the 
disadvantage of the popular institution. Every 
trading interest has its own guild, which maintains 
order among the members, acting as a court of 
arbitration, and for breach of regulations enforces 
penalties, which usually take the form of payment 
for a theatrical representation or a feast. When the 
local authorities propose to put a new or increased 
tax on merchandise, it is usually made the occasion 
for a conference and bargain between the parties; 
and, when these cannot agree, the particular trade 
affected brings the officials to terms by simply clos- 
ing business until satisfaction is obtained. Foreign 
merchants also come occasionally into collision with 
the guilds, whose decisions in cases of dispute some- 
times appear to them arbitrary and unjust, a no- 
tion which may be attributed to the opposite points 
of view from which the question is approached by 
the respective parties, as has been noted in a previ- 
ous chapter. But it would appear that experience 
renders the foreign commercial bodies more tolerant 
of the Chinese guilds, as the colonial governments 
become more tolerant of the Triad Society; and in 
several instances the local guilds have even been ap- 
pealed to by chambers of commerce in a friendly spirit. 



Thus, in all practical matters — politics not being 
considered such — the Chinese genius for association 
has the freest play, and achieves most useful results. 
So thoroughly national, or racial, is the institution 
that individual isolation is unknown. Nobody 
stands alone, says Hue; and no commercial firm or 
bank stands alone. The system of association here 
fits in with the principle of linked responsibility, and 
provides a guaranty most valuable for business. As 
the London bankers came to the rescue of Barings, 
so do the Chinese sometimes unite to support a 
member of the guild. In the case of bankers, in- 
deed, the guaranty is in constant action, all those 
who belong to the inner circle being strictly bound 
to aid each other in emergency and prevent catas- 
trophe. This makes it virtually impossible for a 
bank of the first class to fail, except by some flagrant 
breach of propriety. 

Benefit and tontine societies of all sorts abound 
throughout the country — anti-gambling societies, 
associations for protection from thieves, associa- 
tions of girls who forswear marriage and agree to 
take poison rather than be forced into that ''honor- 
able estate," vigilance committees, and hundreds of 
others. In a word, the country is full of societies of 
every kind, which fill up a very important space in 
the life of the Chinese people. 

Even the poor, as Hue tells us, 

are formed into companies, regiments, and battalions, 
and this great army of paupers has a chief, who bears 
the title of "King of Beggars," and who is actually rec- 
ognized by the state. He is responsible for the conduct of 



his tattered subjects, and it is on him the blame is laid when 
any disorders occur among them that are too outrageous 
and dangerous to public peace to be endured. The * * King 
of the Beggars" at Peking is a real power. . . . Whilst 
they swarm about like some devastating insects, and 
seek by their insolence to intimidate every one they meet, 
their King calls a meeting of the principal inhabitants, 
and proposes, for a certain sum, to deliver them from the 
hideous invasion. After a long dispute, the contracting 
parties come to an agreement, the village pays its ransom, 
and the beggars decamp, to go and pour down like an 
avalanche upon some other place. 

Doolittle explains the diplomacy of the ''King," 
who is enriched by the industry of his subjects: 

A head man of the beggars may make an agreement 
with the shopkeepers, merchants, and bankers within 
his district, that beggars shall not visit their shops, ware- 
houses, and banks for money, for a stipulated time, and 
the beggars are obliged to conform to the agreement. 
ReHgious mendicants or refugees from other provinces 
do not come imder these regulations. The head man 
receives from each of the principal business firms with 
which he comes to an agreement a sum of money, from 
a few to ten or twenty dollars per annum, as the price of 
exemption from the importunities of beggars, and in 
proof of the agreement he gives a strip of red paper on 
which is written or printed: The brethren must not come 
here to disturb or annoy. 

The beggars, in their rags and loathsomeness, are 
unpleasant objects; but they know that, however 
aggressive they may be, even to pawing a smart 
foreigner with their scaly fingers, they are immune 
8 loi 


from chastizement, and they naturally presume on 
their immunity. They may be abused with the full 
artillery of Chinese objurgations, but that makes no 
impression on them. Yet even they are ruled by 
etiquette, and have their professional code, like all 
other sections of society. They must not call at 
private houses, except on certain special occasions of 
mourning or festivity, but that privilege may be also 
compounded for by a covenant between the head of 
the family and the chief of the beggars. The road- 
side is always free to them, and visitors to Peking 
know how the main approaches to the city are lined 
with the whining fraternity. They are sometimes 
really enterprising, and Doolittle relates the cir- 
cumstance of the burial of a native Christian in 
Fuchau, when **a company of beggars and of lepers 
gathered around the grave and demanded twenty 
thousand cash as the condition of allowing the cofhn 
to be lowered. One of the rabble actually got down 
into the grave, and thus prevented the lowering of 
the coffin." They eventually compromised for 
eight hundred cash. 

Nor does the faculty of association end with the 
Beggar Guild. The thieves are also organized, and 
have their codes of honor, more elaborate than Dick 
Turpin's. There are certain matters in which igno- 
rance is more affected than knowledge, at least by the 
respectable Chinese, and no one of them can be found 
to boast of his acquaintance with the articles of 
association of the fraternity of thieves, but these are 
known by their fruits. Even foreigners, who know 
so little of the real life of the Chinese, have observed 
some curious phenomena in connection with their 



own revsidence in China. It is customary to keep a 
doorkeeper and a night-watchman. The duty of 
the latter is to jog round the premises at long in- 
tervals, beating the watches on a rattle or gong; 
then he subsides into the sleep of the man who has 
done his duty, for half an hour or an hour, as the case 
may be. Every opportunity and encouragement is 
thus offered to the house-breaker, but he does not 
take advantage of it. Let the householder, how- 
ever, seeing — what is perfectly evident — that his 
watchman does not "watch," only part with that 
functionary, and then it is ten to one if the burglar 
does not promptly make his presence felt. A blind 
and deaf old dotard may prove an economical form 
of insurance! 

The potency of the Thief Guild is felt in many ways. 
In the north of China, for example, highway robbery 
is not unknown; indeed, is sometimes alarmingly 
prevalent. But there is a valuable traffic on wheels, 
a very slow traffic, over exceedingly bad roads, most 
favorable for attack. Between Peking and Tient- 
sin, in particular, there is a constant exchange of 
silver bullion for gold, and large amounts of treasure 
are conveyed on government and mercantile account. 
The conveyance is the common traveling-cart of 
the country, the custodian an ill-paid driver. There 
may sometimes be an extra man, with a rusty spear 
or an antiquated musket, riding on the shaft of the 
cart. But no harm ever comes to those expeditions 
of the precious metals. Whence comes their secur- 
ity? The livery stable, or "cart company," which 
undertakes the conveyance makes none of those 
exceptions to its liability about "acts of God" and 



''King's enemies," and a host of other matters, 
which make the modern bill of lading such a volumi- 
nous document. The Chinaman undertakes absolute- 
ly to deliver the treasure. He guarantees it against 
all accidents whatever; and the remarkable feature 
in the transaction is that, for the transport, includ- 
ing plenary insurance, the charge is ridiculously small 
— not a per "centage" but a per ''millage" on the 
value. Yet the business is remunerative, the owners 
of carts and mules prosper, and are men of substance 
sufficient to make good any loss that may be brought 
home to them. But evidently they make no losses. 
Out of their fractional charge they no doubt spare a 
trifle for some occult personage, as one would pay 
to gain the favor of the King of the Fairies, and thus 
all the world is content. Weird stories are some- 
times heard of the diplomacy of the king of the 
thieves, and the efficacy of a dingy little flag to pro- 
tect untold wealth in silver and gold, but that is a 
subject on which it is precisely those who know the 
most who have the least to say. 

It is only fitful glimpses which strangers are able 
to obtain of the inner working of Chinese national 
life — quite insufficient to form a coherent theory of 
the whole, except by supplementing what is known 
by inferences drawn as to the mass which remains 
unknown. But the data ascertained seem sufficient 
to warrant the inference of a vast, self -governed, law- 
abiding society, costing practically nothing to main- 
tain, and having nothing to apprehend save natural 
calamities and national upheavals. Perhaps the 
least -understood feature in the Chinese democracy is 
the sentiment by which the innumerable societies 



are held together, and by which, in fact, the whole 
scheme of self-government is sustained. That is a 
proposition which is, prima facie, contradictory of 
many observed facts; it is opposed to the common 
opinion which has been so well illustrated by Arthur 
H. Smith in his chapter on the Absence of Altru- 
ism"; yet it is established on no less incontrovertible 
evidence than this, that the principle of self-sacri- 
fice is an essential element in the preservation of 
Chinese social institutions. It is often cited as an 
example of Chinese eccentricity that a substitute may 
be hired to undergo capital punishment. But if we 
consider the number of occasions on which self- 
immolation is practised to gain an object, we can 
hardly dispose of them all as eccentric freaks. They 
proceed from some principle which we do not as yet 
understand. Suicide, which is penal under English 
law, is meritorious in China. The sacrifice of a 
widow on her husband's demise, whether by hanging, 
poisoning, or drowning, still exists, and such widows 
receive posthumous honors. The devotion of a 
daughter who, in despair of other remedy, gives 
her sick father her own flesh to eat, is always highly 
commended in the Peking Gazette. To be avenged 
on his adversary, a man will commit suicide on his 
enemy's threshold. It is related of Cheo and Chang, 
leaders of a riot in Ningpo to reduce taxation, that 
they surrendered themselves to certain death — 
although they defeated the government forces — in 
order to gain their object and put an end to the con- 
test without the further shedding of blood. Two 
governors who disobeyed the orders of the Empress- 
Dowager to exterminate forci^^ners did so with the 



knowledge that their lives must pay forfeit. In 
acknowledging their acts they asked only that their 
families might not suffer. And so we find, running 
like a thread through the complicated web of Chinese 
social life, a constant readiness to die when the need 
arises, and one cannot but consider this an element 
of strength and stability in the Chinese nation, es- 
pecially if we regard this spirit of sacrifice in its re- 
lation to the family cult, which is to the Chinese the 
realization of immortality. 

Whether or no this spirit is sufficient to replace 
the tie to the Throne as the bond which kept China 
one remains to be proved. Dr. Sun Yat Sen and his 
followers believe that it is, and are prepared to re- 
organize their country as a democracy not in spirit 
only, but in form. No one with any care for his rep- 
utation would care to prophesy on the subject, and 
naturally everything depends on the precise form 
the new republic takes and the men who direct her 
government. But that China has some surprises 
in store for the world is a prediction one can safely 



IN the state of ferment into which the Chinese na- 
tion has been thrown by the pressure of recent 
events it is reasonable to expect that new social 
forces will come into play, while old ones may assume 
a new development. The future is therefore full 
of interest, and there may be many unlooked-for 
developments in the process of adjustment to new 
conditions on which China has now entered. Among 
the factors in the new evolution none deserves more 
attention than the Chinese press, which, though only 
in its infancy as yet, has shown such signs of vitality 
that its influence on the course of events in the Em- 
pire must henceforth be taken seriously into account. 

Although of Western origin, for the most part 
owned by foreigners and printed with foreign appli- 
ances, there is no civilized institution that has so real- 
ly commended itself to the non-ofificial classes of the 
Empire as the modem daily paper. The Chinese 
Peking Gazette, however, is the oldest newspaper in 
the world, compared with whose hoary age the Times 
with its hundred summers is but of yesterday. 
This doyen of newspapers began, and is still carried 
on, with the special object of supplying the people 
with news regarding the acts of the government. 



More valuable illustrations of political and social 
institutions may be gathered, as Sir Rutherford 
Alcock contended, and a clearer insight may be ob- 
tained of the actual working of the governing ma- 
chinery, by a careful study of the Peking Gazette 
than from any other source. And the glimpses it 
affords into Chinese life, manners, and customs make 
it singularly valuable as a guide to further inquiry. 
Sir Rutherford says: 

If the visitor at Peking extend his researches into the 
Chinese city, and even penetrate into one of the narrow- 
side streets near Lieu-li-chang, the Paternoster Row of the 
capital, he may pass the door of one of the offices whence 
the printed copies are issued. This is the quarter of book- 
sellers, and their associate instruments, bookbinders and 
wood-engravers. On entering the shop, cases of wooden-cut 
characters may be seen ranged against the wall, and sorted 
according to the number of strokes in each. Some of fre- 
quent occurrence together are arranged as double characters, 
such as "Imperial edict," mandarin titles, the official title 
of the reign, etc. About a dozen of these printing-offices 
suffice to issue several thousand copies, from whence they 
are distributed, as in London, to their customers, or 
despatched in batches to the different provinces. But 
these offices are all private, and trust to the sale of copies 
for their reimbursement and profits. For six dollars a 
year the Pekingese may keep himself posted up in al 
that the government thinks it desirable he should know 
as to its acts, or the course of events in the provinces. 
Or he may hire his Gazette for the day, and return it if he 
does not approve of the cost of purchasing. ^ 

^ Frazer's Magazine, 1873. 


Although in origin and aim somewhat similar to 
our own newspaper, in one respect there is a vast 
difference : never was there need in China for men like 
Dr. Johnson to listen to debates in parliament and 
carry them home in their retentive memories to be 
furbished up, for the government itself orders copies 
of Imperial decrees, rescripts, and papers that have 
been presented before the Imperial Council to be 
placarded upon boards every morning, for the in- 
formation of the people. These papers are permitted 
to be printed and circulated, but without comment, 
and, as was to be expected, constituted, before the 
advent of the regular newspaper, the staple news 
and almost only subject of discussion among literary 
men throughout the Empire, the veto against writ- 
ten criticism doubtless giving all the greater zest to 
criticism by the living voice. 

One would have thought that the next step would 
be the general newspaper; but, as in the case of 
several of the arts and inventions, the Chinese seem 
to have been suddenly arrested on the threshold of 
a great discovery and forced to bide their time until 
circumstances bade them take a fresh departure. 
There has, however, always been in the hands of the 
people, through the anonymous proclamation and 
placard, an effective instrument by which popular 
wrongs were ventilated and the object of hatred de- 
nounced. During times like those of the Franco- 
Chinese and Chino-Japanese wars squibs and pas- 
quinades, written with endless satiric force and fun, 
were freely passed from one to another; and illegal 
placards, in which official corruption and incapabil- 
ity are exposed to the indignant people, are found 



on many a blank wall. There is no doubt that many- 
local disturbances in various parts of the country 
have been caused by those potent though irrespon- 
sible appeals. A single placard has been known 
to suddenly change the attitude of a whole district 
toward foreigners. Hue says: 

When it is desired to criticize a government, to 
call a mandarin to order, and to show him that the 
people are discontented with him, the placards are 
lively, satirical, cutting, and full of sharp and witty 
sallies : the Roman pasquinade was not to be compared to 
them. They are posted in all the streets, and especially 
on the doors of the tribunal where the mandarin lives 
who is to be held up to public malediction. Crowds as- 
semble round them, they are read aloud in a declamatory 
tone, whilst a thousand comments, more pitiless and severe 
than the text, are poured forth on all sides, amid shouts of 
laughter. **We Chinese," they say, ''print whatever we 
like — books, pamphlets, circulars, and placards — without 
any interference from government. We may even 
print for ourselves, at discretion, provided we do not find 
it too troublesome, and have money enough to get the 
types carved." 

As it was a combination of historical and other 
circumstances that led to the successful adoption 
of the discovery of Gutenberg or Faust in the West, 
so in far Cathay the native newspaper is the out- 
come and legitimate result of foreign intercourse, and 
of the moral pressure exerted, often unconsciously, 
by consular agents, merchants, and missionaries who 
have resided along the coast since the time of the 
treaty of Nanking. Without this pressure, and 



without the mechanical appHances of the foreigner, 
the native press would not have come into existence. 
One difficulty in its way was the Chinese method of 
printing from wooden blocks, employed as early as 
A.D. 581. This was practically surmounted by the 
East India Company, which defrayed the cost of 
casting successfully a font of movable metallic 
type, in the year 181 5, for the use of their factory at 
Macao, but more particularly for the printing of Dr. 
Morrison's invaluable dictionaries and other works 
bearing on Chinese subjects. This font was des- 
troyed by fire in 1856. It is said that movable 
metallic types were made in China and Japan cen- 
turies ago — as far back as a.d. 1040, but they were 
articles de luxe, not intended for popular use. The 
cost of casting fonts of movable Chinese type pre- 
vented the more extended use of what has since 
proved to be a success. The task of providing cheap 
type was reserved for another class of men. The 
more enlightened missionary bodies, being fully alive 
to the fact that most of the grosser superstitions 
of the Chinese were due to ignorance, to an incorrect 
apprehension of natural truth," began, soon after 
their settlement in China, to issue works of useful 
knowledge; but, as the cutting of blocks and print- 
ing from them was both costly and tedious, not to 
mention other inconveniences connected therewith, 
means had to be devised to print from metallic type ; 
and the result is that, through the enterprise of Brit- 
ish and American missionaries, elegant fonts of 
type of every description are produced by electrotype 
and other processes, with ease and cheapness, in every 
way suitable for the purpose of a daily new^spaper. 



As, however, every governor in his province, in- 
deed every prefect in his department, is almost 
an independent satrap, invested with vast powers to 
crush any attempt at independent criticism of the 
acts of the Imperial or the local government — ^for 
such a proceeding is against the letter, though not 
the spirit, of Chinese law and institutions — some 
position was necessary from which papers could be 
published with safety — near enough to be sent into 
the Empire, yet beyond the jurisdiction of its officers. 
Such a position was found in our colonies of Hong- 
kong and the Straits Settlements, and in the foreign 
concessions at Shanghai; the fact that the papers 
were in many cases owned by foreign capitalists 
being an additional element of security. A consider- 
able part was played in the recent revolution by the 
circulation of journals and other literature printed 
in Japan, Europe, and America and circulated in China. 

Such are the successive steps that have accom- 
panied the establishment of a native press, in our sense 
of the term. As has already been said, the newspaper, 
from the first, commended itself to the people, con- 
servative though they are in education and character, 
and has become one of the necessaries of life not only 
to every intelligent and thoughtful native at the 
treaty ports and provincial yamens and to Chinamen 
living abroad, but to the dwellers in the most re- 
mote provinces of China. The circulation of periodic 
literature has been facilitated by the improvement 
in postal and other communications, and the result 
has been the creation, for the first time in China, 
of a genuine national consciousness and the foun- 
dation of an intelligent public opinion. 



The issue of the first independent Chinese news- 
paper, while it heralded the dawn of a brighter day 
for the whole Chinese people, held out hopes es- 
pecially for one class, which individually, though not 
collectively, has always deserved our sympathy — 
the disappointed ''scholars of fortune." These men 
collectively constitute the literati, a class that wields 
enormous power in virtue of the deference spon- 
taneously accorded to letters, and of its being socially 
at the head of the four classes — namely, scholars, 
farmers, artisans, and merchants — into which the 
population of the Empire is divided. Impecunious 
though they generally are, they are still able to 
wield with effect the power thus placed in their 
hands — a power that has been likened, and with some 
truth, to the influence exerted by the squirearchy 
and country clergy in Britain before reform acts dis- 
turbed the repose of rural parishes. When all the 
possibilities of the newspaper press dawn upon the 
minds of this hungry horde of educated paupers, 
this poverty-stricken, restless, intellectual class, who 
is there dare venture to foretell the results upon an 
active and inquisitive race like the Chinese? It 
seems likely that the story of the Japanese native 
press will be again repeated, but with a power in 
direct ratio to the vastly greater forces that are sure 
to be exerted in China. It will be remembered that 
after the abolition of the feudal system in Japan 
thousands of the lieutenants and retainers of the 
Daimios, the very flower of the intellect, the pick of 
the prowess of the country, unable to procure em- 
ployment under the altered conditions violently 
introduced by the new system, found themselves 



homeless and helpless. They could not dig; to beg 
they were ashamed. The native press, brought into 
existence with the restoration, was a God-sent gift 
to such men. Old samurai of bluest blood, who had 
lived lives of lettered ease in feudal castles, wielded 
the pen in the editor's sanctum; and swordsmen,who 
had made stand with their lord for Mikado or Shogun, 
now stood at the composing-case and printing-press, 
admitting and permitting no loss of dignity, conscious 
that they were working, as of yore, for the glory 
and advancement of Dai Nippon. It was a wonder- 
ful revolution, of which even yet only some of the 
results are apparent. So may it be in the phenom- 
enal revolution which the forces of modern civiliza- 
tion are effecting in China, though the results may 
be widely different. 

The number of literary men, graduates, aspirants 
for office who, out at elbow, throng every city and 
village — some years ago there were at Lanchau, in 
Kansu, nearly a thousand such ''expectants" — will, 
it is to be hoped, find in journalism something more 
useful, more honorable, and more conducive to self- 
respect than writing odes on fans or composing 
scrolls for some native Maecenas. And as, while 
waiting for office, they constitute the unrecognized 
opposition, and by far the ablest critics of those in 
office, the newspapers will afford them an opening 
for their talents and energies, and an unfailing means 
of criticizing measures before they have been con- 
firmed for good or evil and have passed beyond recall. 
Such action is quite in harmony with the existing 
Chinese institutions, and is merely a popular ex- 
tension of what has obtained in China for ages. 



And here the mind recurs not merely to Confucius 
and Mencius, who are nothing if not poHtical critics, 
but to the College of Censors, their legitimate de- 
scendants. It may be expected that a growing public 
opinion will hedge in these journalists with privileges, 
just as the government has recognized the preroga- 
tives of the censorate; and as long as literary ability 
is applied to public and moral ends, and to the re- 
form of existing institutions, it will find wide coun- 
tenance. The adoption of a reform of government 
on Western republican lines must, of course, enor- 
mously increase the power of the press and the 
literate class. 

It has been my endeavor to indicate the possibil- 
ities open to newspaper enterprise in the vast field 
of China as soon as the people may be able to over- 
ride the high-handed proceedings of the mandarins 
and to insist that this growth of freedom should be 
directly grafted on a plant grown on Chinese soil. 
That a Chinese press would, if altogether left to it- 
self, be moral in tone and endeavor to elevate the 
people might be assumed from the almost unsullied 
purity of Chinese classic literature from the days of 
Confucius to the present time ; but the street litera- 
ture, it must be confessed, hardly justifies this as- 
sumption. The influence of the literati and particu- 
larly the attitude of the censorate have been alluded 
to elsewhere, and the episode there cited — that be- 
tween the celebrated Censor Sung and the Emperor 
Kiaking — shows that even censors may be bold, and 
at the risk of life, and that outspoken criticism will 
always exist. 

Apart from local intelligence, advertisements, and 



other items, we may divide the contents of native 
papers into four chief divisions — articles on purely 
Chinese affairs; leaders on international relations, 
and, if there be a war on hand, of course also war 
news ; translations from the foreign press ; and precis 
from the Peking and provincial Gazettes. Considered 
as a whole, they are truly strange amalgams of ancient 
political and philosophical maxims and curiously dis- 
torted statements of modern facts, reflecting closely 
indeed the Chinese method of dealing with matters 
— accepting words for facts, the shadow for the 

It is, however, in criticism of purely native affairs 
that the Chinese journalist is at his best, that his 
previous training tells, that he is on solid ground. 
As his readers, like himself, have read the very same 
books, in the very same order, elucidated by the very 
same orthodox commentators, the writer can easily 
sway their minds by reference to the well-known but 
never worn-out principles laid down by the Sages, 
according to which kings reign and princes decree 
justice. He appeals frequently, indeed almost in every 
passage, to the teachings of history, stimulating his 
readers' feelings by calling to witness their long line 
of ancestors who have distinguished themselves in a 
not inglorious past. 

From a literary point of view these articles are the 
most valuable, as they are the most difficult, part of 
the paper. The simplex munditiis, the simple ele- 
gance of the classics, is the point aimed at. The 
theme of an able Chinese literary man, by means of 
the monosyllabic form of the language and its 
ideographic writing, acquires a concentrated energy 



exceedingly difficult to describe, indeed impossible 
to convey to the Western mind, appealing as it does 
to the eye, the ear, and the intellect. Chinese prose 
style sparkles with epigram, antitheses, and the 
other figures of speech depending on brevity for 
their force. It abounds with curio sa felicitas; and 
nothing delights writer and reader more than the 
suggested quotation aptly hidden in the text, just 
apparent enough to give a delicate archaic aroma 
to the period. As Sir Stewart Lockhart states in 
his Manual of Chinese Quotations: 

One of the chief characteristics of the written lan- 
guage of China is its love of quotation. The more fre- 
quently and aptly a Chinese writer employs literary 
allusions, the more is his style admired. Among the 
Chinese it might almost be said that style is quota- 
tion. With them to quote is one of the first canons of 
literary art, and a Chinese who cannot introduce, even 
into his ordinary compositions, phrases borrowed from 
the records of the past might as well try to lay claim to 
literary attainments as a European unable to spell cor- 
rectly or to write grammatically. Letters on the most 
common subjects and newspaper paragraphs detailing 
ordinary items of intelligence are, seldom written without 
the introduction of quotations; and, if these quotations 
are not imderstood, it is impossible to grasp the meaning 
of the writer. 

And what have been the practical results of all 
the newspaper criticism of the officials ? At first the 
mandarins by no means liked this outspoken ex- 
pression of opinion, and it took them rather by sur- 
prise to find their acts, hitherto above open criticism, 
9 117 


subjected to hostile comment. The newspaper, 
much to the chagrin of the hangers-on about the 
yamen, was at first forbidden; but when the great 
man learned that his brother prefect in the adjacent 
department was also coming in for a share of the 
lash, under which he himself had been writhing, 
curiosity and the appreciation of the misfortune of 
one's friends got the better of dignity, and the 
paper was restored — and there it still remains. 

The history of the Shen Pao, or the Shanghai 
Gazette, started in 1870, is instructive. This, the 
leading native paper in China, distinguished itself 
in successfully exposing official abuse. It spoke 
out manfully against torture, no matter by whom 
inflicted, whether by high-placed mandarin or under- 
ling of low degree. More than this, it succeeded 
in securing the reversal of unjust decrees of pro- 
vincial governors by the supreme authorities at 
Peking, in spite of the etiquette and dilatoriness of 
Chinese law, and, above all, the obstructiveness at 
the capital of the friends of the officers attacked, for 
every official has his band of friends — they are nec- 
essary to his existence. In another direction it 
did excellent work in encouraging liberality, by pub- 
lishing the names of the donors to relief funds, as, 
for instance, when the famine ravaged the provinces 
of Chihli and Shantung, and on other similar oc- 
casions. During the forty years of its existence it 
has shown the way to many reforms, and by means 
of its ability and independence has acquired a com- 
paratively large circulation, attaining to a position 
of real influence unequaled by any other native 



It has not, however, been all plain sailing with 
the Shen Pao. Many attempts have been made to 
suppress or ruin it by subsidizing official rivals, but 
in vain. A special effort was made by the Governor 
of the Chekiang province, who had been attacked 
in the paper for being involved in a disgraceful case 
of judicial murder. He appealed to Prince Kung, 
then head of the Tsungli Yamen, to suppress it. The 
prince's reply was a snub to the governor and a 
vindication of the raison d'etre of the paper. He 
intimated that it was rather a ticklish thing for him 
to deal with a foreign-owned concern published in a 
foreign settlement, and pertinently added, "We rath- 
er like to read it in Peking." 

The native papers in Hongkong have exerted a 
similar though a far inferior influence in south China. 
The T sun-Wan Yat-Po, or Universal Circulating 
Herald, while under the editorship of the Chinese 
''teacher" of Dr. Legge, late professor of Chinese 
at Oxford, was remarkable for the emphatic and 
almost savage way in which it attacked official 
abuse and misconduct. 

Reform is steadily making its way by means of the 
press, directed by the right class, the younger edu- 
cated men. When the Reform Club was closed at 
Peking in the winter of 1895-96, the spirit of reform, 
which exists in China as elsewhere, had not been 
killed, as was assumed; it had merely been scotched. 
Suppressed at Peking, the leaders moved their head- 
quarters to Shanghai, where an active propaganda 
was conducted, chiefly by means of a magazine en- 
titled Chinese Progress. At first published every 
ten days, this journal has become a daily paper. 



It commands a large staff of writers, and is sup- 
ported by some three hundred students and eighty 
benevolent societies pledged to support the reform 
movement. Nor is this support merely from the 
younger and non-official classes; even viceroys and 
lesser officials subsidize the society by subscriptions 
and letters of recommendation, not always, it is true, 
without some ulterior motive, for there is such a 
thing, or will be, as "capturing" the press in China. 
The tiny paper of earlier days, with its four narrow 
pages, has already grown into thirty broad leaves, 
with a circulation of ten thousand throughout the 
provinces, as against the former edition of one 
thousand chiefly sold at the capital. 

In their treatment of international questions and 
of matters connected with the Franco- Chinese and 
Chino-Japanese wars, or the Boxer rising, the writers 
of native papers are seen at their worst. Here it 
is that their insufferable literary conceit, which 
begets in them a contempt for everything outside 
their own literature, stands in the way of progress. 
Refusing to recognize the altered conditions around 
them, and shutting their eyes to what has been 
actually accomplished within their own borders, 
many of them have continued to treat any matter 
in which foreign interests are concerned as if no 
foreigner had settled along their coast-line — as if 
China, secure in its isolation, were still the suzerain 
of all the many lands once hers. Incredible as it 
may seem, the British colony of Hongkong, even 
in 1898, was still marked in many Chinese maps as 
part of the Empire of China! 

In the Franco-Chinese campaign of 1884 the 


French were considered merely "outside intruders" 
or filibusters egging on traitorous Tongkingese 
vassals to rebellion, and in the Chino- Japanese War 
the Japanese were the "little dwarfs" attacking the 
Chinese "Goliath," and were to be driven into the 
sea at one fell swoop of the Chinese army. A very 
different estimate obtained after Japan's victory over 
Russia; but, indeed, that epoch-making event has 
altered the perspective of world-questions all over 
the globe ! The British are still known as * ' the red- 
furred devils," while Europeans generally are termed 
Kuei Tsze, "devils." Needless to say, these views 
are no longer found in enlightened Chinese circles, 
and even among the more ignorant there is an awak- 
ening to the futility of the attitude of vainglory so 
common in China in the past. 

The military tactics recommended to Chinese 
generals were, till recently, abstracted from works of 
a thousand years ago — while archers were still ef- 
fective soldiers — when not borrowed from the alto- 
gether impossible "stratagems" (on a par with the 
Trojan horse) of the heroes of the remotest antiquity. 
The attitude of the Chinese press in time of war has 
been one of uncompromising chauvinism, which 
neither disaster nor incapacity seemed to modify. 
This may be merely an easy method of earning a 
reputation for patriotism, or it may arise from a 
desire to "save face" — that universal trait of the 
Chinese character, at all times and under all cir- 
cumstances — but probably there is a complexity 
of causes to account for it. How was the Franco- 
Chinese War fever kept alive? Both newspapers 
and officials concealed the truth and pandered to the 



popular taste. They described battles — always a 
pet subject with literary men in China, as elsewhere 
— that had never been fought; they sang paeans of 
congratulation over victories that were never won; 
and illustrations of the audacious "barbarians" 
being driven back pell-mell at the point of the Chinese 
trident were widely circulated among eager pur- 
chasers. They raised enough fervor of patriotic 
enthusiasm to make it dangerous for a Chinaman 
even to hint at the possibility of victory being on 
the other side. The populace were unanimous in 
allowing themselves to be fooled — they seemed to 
like the process. At the suggestion of the press, in 
1884 a patriotic fund was established to be sub- 
scribed to by Chinese emigrants oversea. Large 
sums were at once raised from men who had already 
contributed to war expenses through the representa- 
tives of their clans in the villages of their own coun- 
try. From Cuba and Peru and elsewhere contri- 
butions came pouring in from those who were the 
survivals of the fittest of the nefarious and despised 
"coolie trade." The rich "companies" of San 
Francisco also subscribed most liberally for the de- 
fense of the Canton province. Editors were not 
slow in driving home the lesson. "These men," 
wrote one, "have encountered the wind and waves 
for thousands of li to earn a living in a foreign land. 
Yet when they hear that their country is involved 
in war, intolerant of delay, they at once raise a 
subscription to aid the government and assist the 
revenue. Alas ! when men living outside the border- 
line act in this way, what should we do that live 
within the country itself? We respectfully write 



this appeal, urging all public-spirited men to go and 
do likewise. I should add that there is no decep- 
tion," continues the writer, ''as to the amounts, as 
the list of donors is published, and the committee 
of management are all honorable men." Not only 
did the editors do their best in sober prose to stir up 
the war feeling, but the aid of song was also invoked, 
one of the poets being no less a personage than a 

In international questions the Chinese editor 
relies on foreign papers. Articles on contraband, 
blockades, duties of neutrals, and so forth, can all, 
as a rule, be traced to a foreign source. The opin- 
ions of the Times during the Franco-Chinese and 
Chino- Japanese wars were well known, and were 
referred to with respect, our newspapers generally 
being alluded to as "Western friends" — the equiva- 
lent of ' ' our contemporary. " It is in the department 
of the paper dealing with foreign matters that grave 
mistakes are made, mainly through the seer ignor- 
ance of the translators, who are too often incom- 
petent for their posts. Except the Shen Pao and 
one or two other papers which have had foreigners 
to advise on all foreign questions, the translations on 
which the editor bases his ''leaders" are made, for 
the most part, by English - speaking Chinese who 
have not been out of China. Their ideas of "things 
foreign" are inaccurate, but not quite so inaccurate, 
perhaps, as many of our ideas regarding matters 
Chinese. The newspaper translator handles the 
most abstruse and delicate subjects, those requiring 
special knowledge, with the utmost assurance; 
and, as most things are seen through the spectacles 



of his own prejudice, the accuracy and value of the 
translation may be estimated. The less conceited 
carefully avoid pitfalls, and confine themselves to 
what is plain sailing. 

Some high officials have been fully aware of the 
unreliability of native newspaper accounts of foreign 
affairs, and have engaged more competent trans- 
lators to give them the news direct from the English 
press. On the whole, there is decided improvement 
in the native press; and, as the Chinese now know 
that there is money to be made through a successful 
newspaper, it may be anticipated that ere long, when 
communications open the country, the better-class 
papers will engage competent men to deal with 
foreign affairs. Telegraphic information is ''con- 
veyed" from their ''Western friends," though not 
infrequently Chinese versions of foreign affairs are 
written by secretaries or hangers-on of the yamens, 
who increase their scanty pay by forwarding their 
rendering of some telegram to the papers in Shanghai 
or Hongkong. 

Along the upper border of the newspapers, where 
in the West is placed the title and date, is written 
the exhortation, "Please respect written paper, 
the merit is boundless" — an exhortation always 
heeded, for papers are carefully filed in shop and 
office, and are read and reread until at last they al- 
most fall to pieces. Then comes the man from the 
society that makes written paper its special care — 
for there is in China a society for this, as for every- 
thing else under the sun — and takes away the well- 
thumbed printed rags and tatters, to be reverently 
burned in a crematorium attached to the Wen Miao, 



the Literary Temple. These usages are mentioned 
as instances of the deHeate regard of the Chinese 
for their sacred letters. The native news-sheet, 
though printed on paper with foreign appliances, 
already receives a welcome wherever it goes in 

What will be the evolution of the native press in 
China it w^ould be rash to prophesy. It may yet 
rouse a nation which has been too long under the 
spell of the dead hand and the dead brain; may 
teach it to break away, not from the characteristics 
stamped on them by nature and environment, but 
from the benumbing conservatism which has suc- 
ceeded so long in preventing the progress of liberal- 
ism; may teach the people to understand that there 
is an intellectual and moral life more active and more 
restless than their own ; may teach the most literary 
nation in the whole world — too long spellbound by 
past great names and great reputations — to at last 
think for itself. And when such a nation once be- 
gins to think — ! ^ 

1 This paragraph has been left exactly as written in 1897. Already 
the native press has accomplished some of the feats predicted. 
The revolution of 1911-12 is largely its work. 



THE old system of education in China is too 
well understood now to need anything more 
than a brief reference. It was founded on — nay, 
practically consisted of — a memorizing of the classics ; 
nor was there any teaching, in the Occidental sense of 
the term. The study of mathematics, for instance, 
had to be attacked by the student through books, 
and it is recorded by China's greatest mathematician. 
Professor Hua, that it took him years to learn addi- 
tion and subtraction in this way. The principal 
feature about the old system of education, however, 
was that only through the portals of official examina- 
tion could the class be reached from which officials 
and civil servants of all kinds were selected. The 
poorest boy, if his parents were able to make sacri- 
fices sufficient to permit him to sit for examination, 
might rise to the highest post; but, although talent 
and industry of an extraordinary kind might be 
needed for the feat, yet the general effect of the sys- 
tem was certainly to stifle and deaden all initiative, 
to foster pedantry, and to keep the most powerful 
class in the land in the swaddling clothes of an out- 
worn classicism. 

When China in Transformation was first pub- 



lished there was very little sign of any change in this 
age-long system. The few Chinese who, in mission 
schools or foreign settlements, acquired a foreign 
education had little prospect of employment in their 
own country. Impulses, which in 1880 led the 
Viceroy of Nanking to send some forty students to 
the United States with a promise of employment on 
their return, had ended in disappointment and dis- 
illusion. A better fate awaited the forty-six students 
who, in 1876, were sent out by the Foochow Arsenal 
to study ship-building and navigation. Some were 
drafted into the diplomatic service, others became 
distinguished in various lines of work. But, on the 
whole, the foreign-trained student of the 'eighties 
had few prospects. The writer had an interesting 
instance of this in the person of a man, very in- 
telligent, highly educated on Western lines, and 
an accomplished writer, who was engaged to act as 
interpreter on an exploration in southern China. 
He was uncongenial and overbearing to his own 
fellow-countrymen, and grumbled so much at the 
hardships of the expedition that he was finally sent 
back. His after career was one of disappointment, 
and ultimately he returned to Chinese dress and 
habits and became violently anti-foreign. The 
position of this man, who in a homely phrase was 
neither fish, fowl, nor good red herring, owing to his 
training on Western lines at a period when China 
still clung to her conservatism, is in strong contrast 
with the policy recently adopted, whereby not only 
do we find that the Court had begun to send Im- 
perial clansmen to study overseas, but, more re- 
markable still, a foreign- trained Christian Chinese 



has been proclaimed President of the provisional 

The real change began after the Chino-Japanese 
War of 1894-95, and the first definite sign was an 
edict of the Emperor, promulgated by the Tsungli 
Yamen in 1896, commanding the study of foreign 
mathematics and science in all colleges of the Em- 
pire, and that all candidates at the literary examina- 
tions should qualify in at least one of the science 
subjects, while every candidate must pass in mathe- 
matics. The despatch of Chinese students to Japan 
began at this time, the government setting the ex- 
ample. The coup d'etat of 1898 temporarily checked 
the impulse from above, and it has been evident to 
all competent observers since that time that reform 
in China, though sanctioned under pressure by the 
Manchu dynasty, must come from below and be 
accomplished by popular will and pressure. This 
has been the case. The Commercial Press, a Chinese 
printing and publishing enterprise, was founded in 
1897. Its phenomenal success is detailed elsewhere. 
Other channels for the dissemination of "Western 
learning," and especially the press, helped to swell 
the rising tide of the demand for a more catholic 
and up-to-date system of education. The work 
accomplished by the Christian Literature Society 
has been remarkable, and that of the mission 
schools must not be overlooked. Considerable con- 
troversy rages over the question of how far the 
Chinese benefit by the preaching to them of Chris- 
tian doctrines; and, considering the devotion and faith 
of propagandists, the results can hardly be pro- 
nounced to be satisfactory. But the policy of 



Protestant missionaries of late years has been to 
bring education — medical, technical, and scientific 
— to the doors of the Chinese, and, when his atten- 
tion and interest have been engaged and his preju- 
dices overcome, to attempt the work of evangeliza- 
tion. The religious aspect of this question is treated 
elsewhere : it is enough here to say that, when China 
comes to look back on the years of her awakening, 
she will realize what she owes to Christian mission- 
aries in letting in the first rays of the new learning. 
And even those who do not wish to see China for- 
sake the ancestor cult, which is the root of her whole 
social fabric, must acknowledge that she has gained 
enormously from the presentation to her of Christian 
civilization at the hands of missionaries. 

The coup d'etat of 1898 and the reactionary wave 
at Peking were answerable for the flight of reformers, 
many of whom went to Japan, whence their writings 
were very widely disseminated. The favorable 
impression made by the Japanese troops in the Boxer 
rising of 1900 led to a rapid increase in the number 
of Chinese students in that country. At one time 
it was estimated that at least fifteen thousand were 
there, and they cultivated extreme revolutionary 
doctrines with a crudity due to a far too hurried and 
ill-digested course of the so-called ''Western learn- 
ing." This tendency led to a restriction in the num- 
ber permitted to go there, and to an effort to divert 
the stream rather to Europe and America. It was not 
till after the Russo-Japanese War that the govern- 
ment sent students to Great Britain; but after the 
Boxer rising the American government refused part 
of the indemnity awarded on condition that the 



money should be spent on education, and this led to 
the despatch of students to American colleges. The 
Viceroy of Wuchang, Chang- Chih-tung, sent students 
to Belgium, Germany, and France; and Yuan Shih- 
kai also sent some to France on the invitation of the 
French government. Yuan was always a keen pro- 
moter of education in his own province, and both he 
and Chang- Chih-tung hold honorable places as the 
foremost of Chinese educational reformers. 

The impetus given to education after the Boxer 
trouble was undoubtedly due to the shock given to 
Chinese self-sufficiency and to the fears of the Em- 
press-Dowager and her advisers. Having actually 
given orders at one time for the extermination of all 
foreigners in two provinces (an order which was al- 
tered in transmission by two patriotic officials, who 
paid for the act with their lives), the opportunist 
Tze Hsi made a complete volte face as to foreigners, 
and in 1902 she permitted the inauguration in Peking 
of a university on Western lines. The University of 
Shansi, which until it reverted to the Chinese did 
most excellent work, had been already founded. But 
the Russo-Japanese War must be regarded as the 
true turning-point in the fortunes of Chinese reform. 
Not only did it revolutionize the theory of relations 
between East and West, which, despite Chinese ob- 
stinate vanity, had been gradually forcing itself upon 
the minds of her better-educated people, but it drove 
home the moral of Chang- Chih-tung 's celebrated 
pamphlet, so largely circulated ten years before. 
Education was, indeed, "China's only hope." The 
flood of light thrown through the medium of "the 
printed word," even to the hitherto obscure corners 



of China, enabled thousands to reaHze the truth of 
that saying. The eagerness of the people of all 
classes for the "new learning" far outstripped the 
power of government to supply teachers. It must 
be acknowledged, even by China's best friends, that 
the difficulty of reconciling the growing desire for 
''Western learning" with an equally strong anti- 
foreign bias has handicapped Chinese education. 
The growth of the national, or ''China for the 
Chinese," movement has prevented the employment 
of foreigners in a great many capacities, and their 
places have been filled by half-educated Chinese or 
Japanese, whose acquaintance with the "new learn- 
ing" was extremely superficial. At the same time, 
this new type of literati either forgot or neglected his 
national literature to such an extent that even the 
works of Confucius are now rarely in evidence in 
Chinese bookshops and libraries. A recent observer, 
who visited both missionary and government col- 
leges, comments on this feature, and adds that the 
majority of instructors are not qualified to do much 
more than to teach colloquial English, and go as 
far in science-teaching as their apparatus permits.^ 
In a desire to follow the popular will the Imperial 
government issued various educational edicts, and in 
1906 a system which is almost perfect on paper was 
evolved, including not only the essentials of the 
"new learning," but a proper attention to what is 
best in national literature and philosophy. The 
curriculum adopted throughout the system has no 
special features to distinguish it from that of Western 

* Leslie Johnston, The East and the West, January, 1912. 


countries, and includes physical as well as mental 
training. At the present time the skeleton of na- 
tional education (on paper, at all events) is very 
complete. Elementary education, technical, agri- 
cultural, and scientific schools are established in 
many provinces, and each is to have its own uni- 
versity. So far only three universities are actually 
established by the Chinese, though nine are main- 
tained by foreign missions, as well as twenty-five 
colleges. There is a military training college at 
Peking, and a medical college founded in 1906 largely 
through missionary effort. Engineering has re- 
ceived special attention, the courses given (for in- 
stance, in the Peiyang University at Tientsin) 
covering much the same ground as similar graduate 
courses in Europe or America. The school founded 
at Tangshan has three foreign professors, and is 
considered to give a good training; and there are 
courses in different branches of engineering to be 
had also in the Peking Polytechnic and in the Uni- 
versity of Shansi. There are, moreover, no fewer 
than seven industrial collleges, according to govern- 
ment returns. Finally, as perhaps the most signifi- 
cant reform of all, it must be stated that girls are 
sharing in this national education, special schools 
and normal colleges being provided for them. When, 
in 1905, five commissioners visited the United States, 
Harvard, Yale, and Wellesley universities offered 
scholarships to Chinese students. An examination 
was held at Nanking in July, 1907, and out of six 
hundred candidates thirteen were chosen, of whom 
three were women. At the present time twelve 
women are studying in Great Britain; two lady 



doctors, trained in the United States, are in charge 
of a hospital for women in Kiukiang; a third is the 
head of a hospital in Foochow; and a fourth edits a 
paper in Peking. Another examination was held for 
students to be sent to America at government ex- 
pense, in 1909, and again there were six hundred 
candidates, but only forty-seven successful in qualify- 
ing, and in 1910 fifty were selected. The standard, 
judging from some sample questions, is very high, 
and demands a general education of a very catholic 
nature. It has been settled that one hundred 
students are to be sent to the United States for four 
years (from 1909), and fifty in succeeding years for 
a period of twenty-nine years. 

The graduates have to pass an examination on 
return to China, and are classed in three grades, and 
those not in the first class must present themselves 
again in the following year. Official appointments 
are dealt out to them in order of merit. It is through 
the portals of literary examination, therefore, that 
Young China, like Old China, will reach the coveted 
goal of official employment, but the difference in 
training and experience will be vast. It is hoped 
that the successful candidates will be able to take 
their places in the new social and political order and 
lead their country on the path of reform. As to 
this, experience only can show. That it is an ideal 
arrangement no one with any knowledge of educa- 
tion would be prepared to admit. The doubts en- 
tertained among educationists as to the value of any 
educational system which is founded on competitive 
examination are too well known to be elaborated 
here, and there is a wide- spread feeling in Great 


Britain that our own services would never have at- 
tained their present efficiency under such cut-and- 
dried conditions. The writer, who entered the ad- 
ministrative service by a side door, at a time when 
such short cuts were not only possible but usual, is 
perhaps not an unbiased judge. Japan adopted a 
rather different system. Her ruling classes went 
abroad and returned home to reassume, in different 
ways, the leadership they had exercised before 
by force. China could not work in this fashion, but 
must keep the path of advancement open to all. 
Nevertheless, the best hope for her lies not in getting 
as many machine-made civil servants as possible 
out of a Western-education-sausage-machine, but in 
the knowledge acquired by her own better classes, a 
large number of whom now send their sons as stu- 
dents to Western or Chinese universities. Reference 
has already been made to students sent specially to 
study naval affairs, and it must be understood that 
this practice has been steadily continued, though the 
numbers are small. Military students go to France, 
Austria, and Germany. There are also opportuni- 
ties for special studies afforded to Chinese born in 
the Straits Settlements, of whom several have taken 
up important posts in their motherland. 

In this necessarily brief outline of educational prog- 
ress in China it is impossible to attempt any es- 
timate of the work done or the influences set to work ; . 
but attention must be drawn to certain important 
features. The influence of Japan during the years 
1 89 5-1 908 appears as the most vital factor. That 
period saw the rush of Chinese students to Japan. 
Now the number there is reduced from fifteen thou- 



sand to three thousand ; and, while Japanese influence 
is still strong, it is evident that it is no longer the only 
one. The adoption by the revolutionaries of a re- 
publican form of government, even though the model 
is not quite that of the United States, indicates a 
swinging away from Japanese ideas, and indeed must 
be extremely unwelcome to that country in which 
the monarchy is the central fact from a political, 
social, and religious point of view. Japan has 
always favored the moderate reforming views of 
Liang Chi-chao. Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the provisional 
President, has resided in the United States, and 
has many friends there. At the present time there 
are seven hundred and seventeen Chinese students 
in American universities, colleges, and schools, of 
whom four hundred and forty-three are private and 
the rest government students. The flow of these 
students will be continuous, and is guaranteed for 
nearly thirty years. A certain number go to Ger- 
many, France, and Belgium. There are only one 
hundred and forty Chinese government students in 
the United Kingdom, for we did not, hke the Amer- 
icans, embrace the opportunity offered by the in- 
demnity to secure a share in molding China's 
future. We asked less than we were entitled to, 
and insisted on having it paid, thereby securing 
odium for ourselves. There is a considerable num- 
ber of private students in the United Kingdom, but 
when it is remembered that we have a large Chinese 
population in the Straits and Hongkong, the num- 
ber is not remarkable. The Hongkong University, 
which owes its inception largely to the generosity 
of a Parsee gentleman, will probably attract many 



students in the south, since it is near their own shores, 
and there is already a tendency not to send so many 
government scholars abroad, but to encourage their 
going rather to one of the Chinese universities. The 
necessity that the men who are to interpret the "new 
learning" should have it pure from the source makes 
it desirable that the stream to Western universities 
should be kept up for a time, at all events, but it is 
essential that properly qualified foreign instructors 
should be employed in the early days of the new 
Chinese universities. 

This last essential has been realized by friends of 
China in Europe and America, and already Yale 
College has founded a school at Changsha, in Hunan, 
once the seat of the most rabid anti-foreign propa- 
ganda, which is to have fourteen fully qualified 
foreign professors and a large staff of Chinese in- 
structors. A more ambitious scheme is the one 
fathered by the Rev. Lord W. Gascbyne Cecil. The 
British public is asked to subscribe one hundred and 
twenty-five thousand pounds to endow an educa- 
tional center in China as far as possible on the lines 
of a British university, and a similar sum is to be 
raised in America. The idea — an excellent one — 
is to have a thoroughly equipped college in the heart 
of China, among their own people, and using the 
best traditions of China and of Western schools. 
The special aim of this scheme is to bring the less 
material forces of our university system to bear on 
Chinese character, in order to counteract the rather 
mundane tendency of the present training. The 
inclination, already noted, to reject altogether the 
Chinese classics is accentuated in non-government 



schools by the difficulty, first, of meeting the demands 
of the students for a ''practical" training; and, 
second, by the fact that really good Chinese teachers 
are mainly in official employment. The result is an 
exotic and denationalizing type of education. It has 
been said, very truly, that in taking from us only the 
so-called practical side of education the Chinese are 
getting the husk without the kernel, and it is hoped 
that, by providing a central university to which 
might converge students from every kind of mission 
school or college, the gulf might be bridged between 
the teaching of certain subjects and education in its 
true sense. Whether any transplantation of univer- 
sity customs or even personalities can supply the 
atmosphere of Oxford or Cambridge remains to be 
seen, and it is more likely that the frank material- 
ism and the more democratic methods of American 
universities (in which so large a proportion of Western- 
trained students will graduate) will flavor the new 
China too strongly to allow of a more subtle and 
delicate aroma. Very likely, however, the Chinese, 
even more than the Japanese, will eventually evolve 
an atmosphere and an aroma of their own ; and, when 
they do so, it will be upon the shoulders of the young 
graduates of to-day to lead the way. Their educa- 
tion is a matter of vital importance to the future of 
the Empire, and it should be as liberal as possible. 

Having in view the philosophic basis of their na- 
tional life and their artistic achievements in the past, 
we must hope that the finer and more delicate of 
their national characteristics will survive the in- 
evitable rush to secure the greatest possible measure 
of that modem shibboleth ''efficiency." 




THE subject of the earlier foreign relations with 
China can only be dealt with here in the brief- 
est manner possible — merely so far as to enable the 
reader to understand the later relations between 
China and the outer world. Those readers who may 
be anxious to acquire some further knowledge of this 
interesting subject will find in the works of the 
Jesuit Fathers, of Davis, Yule, Richthofen, and other 
writers, a large fund of information. 

At eras far apart China has been distinguished 
by different appellations, says Yule, "according as 
it was regarded as the terminus of a southern sea- 
route coasting the great peninsula and islands of 
Asia, or as that of a northern land traversing the 
longitude of that continent. In the former aspect 
the name applied has nearly always been some form 
of the name Sin, Chin, Sinae, China. In the latter 
point of view the region in question was known to 
the ancients as the land of Seres; to the Middle 
Ages as" the Empire of Cathay."^ 

1 "The region of the Seres is a vast and populous country, touching 
on the east the ocean and the Hmits of the habitable world ; and extend- 
ing west nearly to Imaus and the confines of Bactria. The people 
are civilized men, of mild, just, and frugal temper; eschewing colli- 



Besides Ptolemy, Pliny has notices of the Seres, 
whose country he places upon the eastern ocean of 
the extremity of Asia. The information contained 
in these two authors was all that was available down 
to the time of Justinian, and, though the account 
given by them was not of a very comprehensive 
character, their description of the Chinese of that 
time is, as Yule remarks, applicable to-day. The 
old reputation of the Seres for honesty is frequently 
referred to by Yule: ''Indeed, Marco's whole account 
of the people here [in Kinsay] might pass for an ex- 
tended paraphrase of the Latin commonplaces re- 
garding the Seres." The reputation of the Chinese 
for integrity and justice, in spite of much that has 
been said against it, must have had some solid foun- 
dation, he truly says, for it has prevailed to our own 
day among their neighbors in various parts of Asia 
which are quite remote from one another. 

The early Chinese writings make frequent men- 
tion of trade relations with a land called Tatsin- 
Kwoh, believed to have been the Roman Empire, 
and emissaries passed between Rome and China. 
The traffic in the rich productions of China and 
India was the chief stimulus to trade adventure, and 
the gradual springing-up of this commerce led to the 
Nestorian missionaries penetrating those regions, 

sions with their neighbors, and even shy of close intercourse, but not 
averse to dispose of their own products, of which raw silk is the 
staple, but which include also silk stuffs, furs, and iron of remarkable 
quality. It seems probable that relations existed from the earliest 
times between China and India, and possibly, too, between China 
and Chaldaea. The ' Sinim ' of the Prophet Isaiah is by many taken 
to mean China, and Ptolemy's 'Sinae' are generally understood to 
have been the Chinese." (Yule, Cathay.) 



which they did from Persia in the seventh century, 
seemingly through the northwestern region of 
China. These Nestorians disappeared from the 
face of history, leaving no trace but that of a stone — 
the famous tablet of a.d. 781 — which till lately was 
to be found in the yard of a temple at Sian fu. This 
monument, excavated in 1625, which is held to have 
attested the ancient propagation of Christianity 
in China, was inscribed partly in Chinese and partly 
in Syriac. The story that a holy man named Olopiien 
went from the country of Tatsin to China in the year 
636 of our area, and that he was well received by 
the Emperor, who caused a Christian church to 
be built, is wrongly treated by Voltaire as the merest 
fiction. '*I1 y a assez de verites historiques," he 
says, ''sans y m^ler ces absurdes mensonges." 

In the ninth century China was visited by two 
Arabs/ The travels of Buddhist pilgrims from 
China to India, notably those of Fahien (399-404), 
of Hiuen-tsang (628-645), of Hwui-sing (518), 
contain much information regarding the peoples of 
central and western Asia. The most recent ex- 
plorations in central Asia, especially Dr. Aurel 
Stein's excavations of buried cities, confirm the ac- 

^ "Abu Zaid [one of the Arabs], like his predecessor," says Yule, 
* ' dv/ells upon the orderly and upright administration of China while 
in its normal state. This, indeed, seems to have made a strong im- 
pression at all times on the other nations of Asia, and we trace 
this impression in almost every account that has reached us from 
Theophylactus downward; whilst it is also probably the kernel of 
those praises of the justice of the Seres which extend back some 
centuries farther into antiquity. And the Jesuit historian, Jarric, 
thinks that ' if Plato were to rise from Hades he would declare that 
his imagined republic was realized in China, ' " 



curacy of these early travelers, and more particular- 
ly of Marco Polo. The official histories from 300 
B.C. to A.D. 900 give useful information regarding 
Syria and Persia, Greece and Parthia; but the in- 
formation is fragmentary, the position of places un- 
certain, and the generalization from mere out- 
lying borders both incorrect and unwarranted. A 
few embassies, up to the year 1091, are noted by 
Pauthier; and the Russian Bretschneider has es- 
tablished that the visits of the Arabs were frequent 
down to the Sung and Tang dynasties. He gives 
much interesting information regarding the Chinese 
medieval travelers to Western countries between 
A.D. 1220 and 1260. 

The Franciscan monks sent on missions to the 
Great Khan about the middle of the thirteenth cen- 
tury were the first to bring to western Europe the 
revived knowledge of a great and civilized nation 
lying to the extreme east, upon the shores of the ocean ; 
and a Franciscan monk was made archbishop in 
Khanbalig (Peking), and the Roman Catholic faith 
spread. Friar Odoric made his way to Cathay at the 
commencement of the fourteenth century, and from 
Zayton journeyed northward to Peking, where he 
found the aged Archbishop Corvino, and remained 
some three years. The journey homeward was 
through Lhassa, and probably by a route via Cabul 
and Tabriz to Europe, ending at Venice in 1330. 
Many now well-known characteristics of the Chinese, 
unknown or unnoticed by other travelers of his time, 
are given by Odoric.^ Ibn Batuta, the Moor, 

^ "His notices of the custom of fishing with cormorants," says 
Yule, "of the habits of letting the finger-nails grow long, and of 



traveled in China about 1347. The Far East was, 
in fact, frequently reached by European traders in 
the first half of the fourteenth century, '*a state of 
things," says Yule, ''difficult to realize when we see 
how all those regions, when reopened only two cen- 
turies later, seemed almost as absolutely new dis- 
coveries as the empires which, about the same time, 
Cortes and Pizarro were annexing in the West." 
European missions and merchants were no longer to 
be found in China after the middle of the fourteenth 
century, at the period when the Mongol dynasty was 
tottering before its fall. The voyage of Nicolo di 
Conti, the Venetian, who traveled ''quite through 
India," returning home after an absence of twenty- 
five years, is considered apocryphal. Having, ac- 
cording to his own account, made denial of his faith 
to save his life, he had to seek absolution of the Pope 
in 1444. Much information is given by Mayers re- 
garding Chinese explorations of the Indian Ocean 
during the fifteenth century. 

The existence of a Jewish colony in China was dis- 
covered by the Jesuit Fathers in the seventeenth 
century, if not even earlier; Kaifung, some four 
hundred and fifty miles southwest of Peking, being 
the headquarters of this colony. When Martin visited 
the place in 1866, he found the synagogue (supposed 
to have been built in 11 64) in ruins; the Jews had 

compressing the women's feet, as well as of the divisions of the 
Khan's Empire into twelve provinces, with four chief viziers, are 
peculiar to him, I believe, among all the European travelers of the 
age. Polo mentions none of them. The names which he assigns to 
the Chinese post-stations, and to the provincial boards of adminis- 
tration, the technical Turki term which he uses for a sack of rice, 
etc., are all tokens of the reality of his experience." 



dispersed, some having become Mohammedans, and 
not one being able to speak a word of Hebrew. In 
1850 certain Hebraic rolls were recovered from the 
few remaining descendants of former Jews, but little 
really seems to be known regarding this Jewish colony, 
and the chief information on record is found in a 
memorandum on the subject in the Lettres edifiantes. 

There is no need to deal at length with the won- 
derful journeys accomplished by Marco Polo, who 
visited the court of Kublai Khan in 1274. The 
Venetian, as is well known, became a favorite with 
the Emperor, and spent in all some twenty-one years 
in the East, returning to Venice in 1295. In his 
edition of Marco Polo, Yule has given to the world 
the most erudite, and also the most charming, annota- 
tion of the great Venetian traveler's life-work. On 
nearing the provinces of Cathay, Marco Polo passed 
through towns containing Nestorian Christians, who 
were met with again in Yunnan and other parts of 
the Empire. 

In 1644 the Manchus completed their conquest 
of China. In 1627, while in possession merely of 
Liaotung, an edict was issued compelling their Chinese 
subjects, under penalty of death, to adopt their 
mode of wearing the hair, as a sign of allegiance, and 
the custom thus compulsorily established became the 
fashion long held in such esteem by the Chinese. It 
was not only this custom of the coiffure which was in- 
troduced by the Manchus. The opinion prevalent 
in the West is that the exclusive and anti-foreign 
feeling met with in China is something peculiar to 
the Chinese character and dating from remote 
antiquity. It is clear that it was the conquering 



race, the Manchus, who forced this spirit upon the 
Chinese people, in the attempt, so long maintained, 
to hermetically seal the Empire against the intrusion 
of the foreigner. From the brief summary already 
given it will be seen that, before the advent of the 
Manchus, China maintained constant relations with 
the countries of Asia, traders from Arabia, Persia, 
and India trafficking in Chinese ports and passing 
into the interior. The tablet of Sian fu, already men- 
tioned, shows that missionaries from the West were 
propagating the Christian religion in the eighth 
century; in the thirteenth not only was Marco Polo 
cordially received, but held office in the Empire, the 
Christian religious ceremonies being tolerated at 
Peking, where there was an archbishop. To the 
close of the last Chinese dynasty the Jesuit mission- 
aries were well received and treated at the capital, 
and, as Hue remarks, the first Tartar emperors merely 
tolerated what they found existing. This would 
seem to show conclusively that the Chinese did not 
originally entertain the aversion to foreigners which 
is usually assumed. The explanation given by Hue 
that it was the policy of the Manchus — a small num- 
ber of nomad conquerors holding in subjection a 
vast population — to preserve China for themselves 
by the exclusion of foreigners, seems reasonable; and 
Hue foretold that this very polic}^ which served to 
establish the Manchu power, would eventually lead 
to its destruction.^ 

^ "The Mantchoos, it is evident, were, on account of the smallness 
of their numbers in the midst of this vast empire, compelled to 
adopt stringent measures to preserve their conquest. For fear that 
foreigners should be tempted to snatch their prey from them, they 



The history of Russian intercourse with China may 
here be briefly recited. 

The first record of Russians appearing at Peking is 
that of two Cossacks who made their way there in 
1567, and fifty years later another Russian reached 
the capital, both visits being without any result. 
It was not till about the year 1643, at a time when 
the Manchus were engaged with the war which 
ultimately made them masters of China, then in the 
throes of rebellion, that commanders of the Russian 
settlements north of the Amur Valley commenced 
exploring expeditions, regarded as hostile excursions 
by the Chinese. In 1649 Chaboroff made an in- 
cursion into Chinese territory. The Tsar Alexis 
sent an envoy in 1653, who refused to perform the act 
of obeisance and was dismissed ; and Stepanoff made 
a fresh expedition across the border. But, shortly 
after, the Manchu-Chinese army, inured to warfare 
by the campaigns in China, defeated the Russian 
troops, which were then numerically weak. In the 

have carefully closed the ports of China against them, thinking thus 
to secure themselves from ambitious attempts from without ; and in 
the interior of the empire they have sought to keep their enemies 
divided by their system of rapid and constant change of public 
officers. These two methods have been crowned with success up 
to the present time; and it is really an astonishing fact, and one, 
perhaps, not sufficiently considered, that a mere handful of nomads 
should have been able to exercise, for more than two hundred 
years, a peaceable and absolute dominion over the vastest empire 
in the world, and over a population which, whatever may be the 
common opinion respecting them, are really extremely stirring and 
fond of change. A policy at the same time adroit, supple, and vigor- 
ous could alone have obtained a similar result; but there is every 
reason to think that the methods which once contributed to es- 
tablish the power of the Mantchoo Tartars will ultimately tend to 
overthrow it." (Hue, The Chinese Empire.) 



years 1658, 1672, and 1677 trading caravans reached 
Peking, and, disputes between the Russian and Chi- 
nese soldiers and settlers along the banks of the Amur 
having become frequent, hostilities for the possession 
of the river were maintained in a desultory manner. 
After a five years' war, China imposed peace upon 
Russia by the treaty of Nerchinsk (in 1689), when a 
frontier between China and Russian Siberia was 
agreed on, by which the whole of the Amur Valley was 
placed in the hands of the Chinese Emperor Kanghi, 
Russia retaining merely one bank of a portion of the 
Argun River, an upper affluent of the Amur. The 
frontier thus decided upon was watched closely, 
the Chinese commander at each frontier-post having 
daily to inspect the posts on the line of demarcation. 
"Only in this manner," says Plath, "could the fron- 
tier be kept for a hundred years against the Russians. 
Across the rivers horsehair ropes were drawn for the 
same purpose." The Tsar sent a Russian embassy 
in 1692, under Eberhard Ides, to Peking. In 1715 
a considerable number of Russians, who had been 
taken prisoners by the Chinese, were permitted to 
settle at Peking, and four years later Peter the Great 
sent Ismailoff to arrange certain questions regarding 
trade. In 1727 the frontier was again demarcated, 
leaving the eastern boundary as it then was, but 
rectifying that lying westward from the Argun; and 
this arrangement remained unaltered till the middle 
of the last century. The Russians were allowed to 
erect a church and school at Peking which developed 
into a permanent mission. The early diaries of de 
Lange, who accompanied Ismailoff to Peking, throw 
light on the first relations of the Russians with the 



Chinese Court. It was under the 1727 treaty that a 
caravan was allowed to make its way to Peking every 
three years. It appears, however, that these cara- 
vans met with so little success that, though in the 
first twenty years six journeys were made, they be- 
came afterward less frequent. The general policy 
of Russia seems to have been one of inaction or (as 
Prjevalsky calls it) subserviency toward China 
until Muravieff and Ignatieff appeared on the scene 
in the Amur region. In 1858 Muravieff obtained for 
Russia a large territory, the Amur province, while 
General Ignatieff in i860, by a dexterous use of the 
victory of the Anglo-French troops at Peking, with 
a stroke of the pen transferred to Russia the whole 
coast of Manchu-Tartary, from the mouth of the 
Amur River to the frontier of Korea. 

Russia's objective — an ice-free port on the Pacific, 
and the acquisition of territory suitable for the con- 
tinuation in a southerly direction of her transconti- 
nental railway — appeared to be in sight in 1895, when 
the Chino- Japanese War revealed the weakness of the 
Chinese government. After some years diplomatic 
pressure at Peking, and largely owing to the cynical 
views of Li Hung Chang (who was prepared the pur- 
chase peace with Russia at almost any price), the 
lease of the Liaotung peninsula was acquired in 1898 
for twenty-five years, which gave Russia control of 
Port Arthur and Talienwan and the adjacent terri- 
tories. After the Boxer rising in 1 900 a fresh advance 
was made by ''regularizing" the occupation of 
Manchuria, which had been proceeding under the 
guise of peaceful penetration; and it was this state 
of affairs, coupled with Russia's obvious intention to 



round off her eastern Asiatic sphere with Korea, 
which led, in 1904, to the declaration of war by 
Japan. The comparatively inefficient character of 
Russia's occupation of Manchuria was revealed in 
the war, and, as a matter of fact, the economic con- 
quest by the Chinese was actually proceeding faster 
than the converse political movement. The Ports- 
mouth Treaty of 1905 bound Russia and Japan to 
evacuate Manchuria except the Liaotung peninsula, 
where Japan succeeded to the leasehold and other 
rights held by Russia. Moreover, the railways 
were divided, as to control and administration, be- 
tween the two quondam combatants; and although 
Manchuria was thus nominally restored to China, 
its alienation, with Japan and Russia in competition, 
has gone on much faster than before. Nevertheless, 
China's rights under the treaty of Portsmouth are 
inexpugnable, with this proviso — that she cannot 
enforce them unless she is strong enough to maintain 
law and order in the territory. Turned back in the 
Far East after the disasters of 1905, Russia became 
quiescent for a time, but has once more restmied her 
former activity. A fresh development in Russo- 
Chinese relations was an ultimatum presented by 
St. Petersburg in 191 1 regarding some alleged in- 
fringements of Russian rights in a district of Chinese 
Turkestan. The demand for an answer within three 
days resulted in assurances being immediately given. 
The most recent development is the move in Mon- 
golia, long contemplated by Russia. 

To turn for a second to the intercourse of China 
with Holland, Portugal, and Spain. The trade of 
the Dutch with China commenced after they had 



achieved their independence in Europe, when they 
made war upon the Oriental possessions of Spain, 
capturing Malacca, the Spice Islands, and other 
positions. In 1622 they were repulsed at Macao, but 
established themselves in the Pescadores, and a 
couple of years later in Formosa. The Portuguese 
first visited a port of China in 15 14; and three years 
later took place the trading expedition to Canton 
under Andrada, conveying the unfortunate Ambas- 
sador Perez, who died in fetters in China. Besides 
Macao, Formosa was included among the Portuguese 
dependencies, but the former was the only permanent 
foothold of Portugal in China. From 1 543 , the date of 
the capture of the Philippines, the Spaniards carried 
on a trade between Manila and the Chinese coast, and 
in the next century two Spanish forts were established 
in Formosa (Spain and Portugal being at this time 
under one crown). The Dutch drove the Spaniards 
out of that island in 1624, but twenty years later 
were themselves expelled by the Chinese pirate 
Koxinga, and thenceforward held no possessions in 
the Chinese seas. In 1732 Danish and Swedish 
traders, in 1736 French, and in 1784 Americans 
appeared at Canton. 

Of all Western countries it has been the intercourse 
of France with China which, apart from trade, has 
been considerable ; and both the earlier knowledge of 
the West acquired by China and that of China ac- 
quired by the West were mainly achieved by French 
missionaries, who have played an important part 
politically. No French government sent a mission 
to Peking merely to seek advantages of trade as 
others have done, but as early as 1289 Philip the Fair 
II 149 


received despatches from Persia and China suggest- 
ing common action against their enemies, the Sara- 
cens. Some four centuries later Louis XIV. ad- 
dressed a letter to the Emperor Kanghi, whom he 
termed ''Most High, Most Excellent, Most Puissant, 
and Most Magnanimous Friend, Dearly Beloved 
Good Friend," signing him^self "Your most dear and 
good friend, Louis." In 1844 an important mission, 
under the direction of M. Lagrene, proceeded to 
Peking, and a treaty was signed between France and 
China. The French Treaty of 1858 was supple- 
mented by a convention signed at Peking in i860, 
which led to controversy between the French and 
Chinese, culminating in an understanding in 1865, 
the formal ratification of which, however, was only 
procured in 1894. Further conventions were con- 
cluded in 1885, 1887, and 1895, the latter two con- 
taining important clauses affecting southern China. 

The initiation of a Chinese policy on the part of 
France may be said to have begun seriously with the 
expedition of Doudart de Lagree in 1867, described in 
the most charming manner by the gifted Louise de 
Carne, when it was first seen that France could ac- 
quire in Tongking one of the keys of China. The 
colonial policy of France, after her defeat at the 
hands of Prussia, turned her eyes to the East; and 
in 1884 the Franco- Chinese War in Tongking took 
place, partly owing to a misunderstanding as to the 
terms of an agreement arrived at by the diplomatists. 
A terrible incident in the war was the attack on the 
river forts of the Min River by Admiral Courbet. 
In 1885 peace was declared, China giving up all 
claim on Tongking. In 1898 France obtained a 



ninety -nine years' lease of Kuaug-chau-Wan (op- 
posite Hainan) , and next year two islands command- 
ing the entrance to the bay. 

The relations of Germany with China are of recent 
date. The first Prussian expedition was under- 
taken in 1 86 1, under Count von Eulenberg. Some 
years later German traders in China suggested that 
their government should seize a portion of Chinese 
territory — Formosa or Korea — in order to found a 
"German Australia." Treaties were concluded in 
1 86 1 and 1 880. But nothing was accomplished in this 
direction until Kiaochau was occupied in 1897-98. 

This act of aggression was, perhaps, the most 
brutal manifestation of the ''mailed fist" policy in 
which even Prussia has ever indulged. Nominally 
in return for the murder of two German missionaries 
in Shantung, Germany demanded and secured from 
the weak Manchu government the ninety-nine years' 
lease of a port in Shantung — the harbor, town, and 
hinterland — with rights of railway construction in 
the province itself. A great deal of money has been 
spent on Kiaochau, and the German thoroughness 
and mastery of detail are evidenced in all the arrange- 
ments; but the German merchant and trader con- 
tinue, on the whole, to perfer the more elastic system 
to be found in ports not under the German flag. In 
1900 the German ambassador was killed in the 
streets of Peking during the Boxer rising, and pos- 
sibly it should be placed to Germany's credit that, 
instead of demanding a province as compensation, 
she merely exacted a monetary payment and vari- 
ous acts of humiliation on the part of the Peking 



English intercourse with China commenced later 
than that of some other maritime Powers of the 
West, but has grown to great proportions. The 
history of British trade with China preceding the 
direct connection with India is that of the East 
India Company, which in 1613 established a factory 
in Japan, and some two years later opened agencies 
in Formosa and Amoy. An attempt in 1627 to 
commence trade with Canton through Macao proved 
unsuccessful, owing to the opposition of the Portu- 
guese, who had been established there some seventy 
years. Nominal participation in the trade of Canton 
was granted to the British in 1635, but little progress 
was achieved until Oliver Cromwell concluded the 
treaty with Portugal by which free access was ob- 
tained throughout the East Indies. When the 
Ming dynasty was replaced by that of the present 
rulers in 1664, a complete contempt for trade and 
strong antipathy to foreigners was a marked trait 
of the new ruling house. The company's factory at 
Amoy was destroyed in 1681; but the agents (in 
those days called "supercargoes"), finding that the 
Manchus permitted trade to be carried on provided 
their supremacy was humbly acknowledged, sent 
ships to Macao, re-established the factory at Amoy, 
and soon after founded another on the island of 
Chusan. Till that time every vessel upon arrival 
was boarded by an officer of the Hoppo (the Imperial 
Superintendent of the Native Customs) and by an 
officer of the Imperial household, who were pro- 
pitiated by a cumshaw, or present, upon the amount 
of which depended the extent of the rates and duties 
to be levied. When the mutual difficulties had been 



overcome, after the employment of arguments usual 
on such occasions, the ship proceeded to Whampoa, 
at that time the port of Canton, where trade was 
opened through the intermediary of a Chinese trader 
who w^as officially recognized. 

The East India Company having appointed a chief 
supercargo, who was also to act as king's minister 
or consul for China, the Manchu government nomi- 
nated an official, with the title of the Emperor's 
Merchant," to supervise foreign trade. This officer 
was naturally far from being a persona grata with the 
supercargoes and traders. A contest arose between 
the two officials, and every endeavor was made by 
the Chinese to depreciate the position of the king's 
minister, and to reduce him to the level of a mere 
taipan, or chief manager. The foreigners had now 
to placate not merely the Hoppo and his many 
underlings, but also the "Emperor's Merchant" and 
his horde of hangers-on. The Manchu commis- 
sioner became not merely the intermediary between 
the foreigners and the native merchants, but also 
the means of communication between them and the 
local Chinese authorities. Thus was established a 
powerful Chinese combination, which maintained 
itself by submitting to a heavy ''squeeze" at the 
hands of the Viceroy and Governor of Canton on the 
one hand and of the Hoppo on the other. The 
office of the Hoppo was a remunerative one, but he 
in turn had to purchase his five years' term for collect- 
ing the customs, both foreign and native, by a heavy 
payment to Peking. Foreign trade was therefore 
carried on under great disabilities ; but notwithstand- 
ing all obstacles commerce flourished, and by the 



year 1715 British ships commenced to sail direct 
to the Bogue, where, after the settlement of fees and 
duties, the required "chop," or stamped permit, was 
obtained, and permission granted to proceed to 
Whampoa for the purposes of trade. 

In 1720 a fresh change was made in the conduct of 
foreign trade, the ''Emperor's Merchant" being re- 
placed by a body of Chinese traders known as the 
' ' Co-Hong, ' ' with power to levy an ad valorem duty 
of four per cent, on imports and exports. The Co- 
Hong was under the superintendence of the Hoppo, 
and responsible to the viceroy and governor for their 
share of the profits and the solvency of each member. 
The members of the corporation, moreover, were 
answerable for the payment of all fees and duties, 
and even for offenses and crimes committed by the 
ships' officers or crews. An import duty of three 
taels per picul was sanctioned by Imperial edict in 
1722, and an attempt made shortly after by the 
Imperial government to introduce a fixed tariff; but 
the condition of affairs was not improved, the tariff 
being treated with contempt by both the Hoppo 
and the Co-Hong. A special tax of ten per cent, 
on foreign imports and exports followed, concerning 
which a strong appeal was made by the foreigners to 
the Throne — in the attitude of humble, or rather 
abject,, suppliants, be it noted — but not till 1736, on 
the occasion of the accession to power of the Emperor 
Kienlung, was exemption obtained from the impost. 
The vessels of nationalities other than the British 
now commenced to trade with Canton. 

A fresh disability was introduced twenty years 
later, making it imperative for ships to obtain the 



security of two members of the Co-Hong. The 
powers of the combination were extended, all dealings 
of foreigners with small traders and purveyors of 
provisions being prohibited, especially with native 
junks before entering the river, as had been the 
practice. And this restriction was further em- 
phasized by an Imperial edict entirely prohibiting 
trade anywhere outside the Bogue. An attempt was 
made by the chief supercargo to avert the ruin of 
the Amoy agency thus threatened, which, however, 
completely failed. The interpreter, Mr. Flint, who 
had been charged with the Amoy negotiations, 
proceeded to Tientsin and laid the whole case, in- 
volving serious reflections on the local authorities 
at Canton, before the Throne. The appeal was 
nominally successful, and an Imperial commissioner, 
accompanied by Mr. Flint, was despatched to Canton 
to remove the Hoppo from office, to abolish illegal 
extortion, and to hold a full investigation, with 
the inevitable result that the commissioner was 
"squared," and grave charges were formulated 
against Mr. Flint of having set at defiance the 
Imperial edict. He and the supercargoes who had 
been summoned to the Yamen were attacked and 
maltreated and compelled to perform the kotow. 
Mr. Flint was detained in prison; and a special mis- 
sion to Canton to obtain his release having proved 
unsuccessful, a heavy bribe being refused, he was 
actually kept in confinement till the year 1762, when 
he returned to England. 

The system of bribery and corruption, coupled 
with submission to gross indignities, continued until, 
in 1 771, permission was accorded to foreigners to 



reside at Canton during the winter, the business 
season. At this time the supercargoes gained a de- 
cisive victory over the Co-Hong, obtaining its disso- 
lution by means of a cumskaw of one hundred thou- 
sand taels, the contributions due to the authorities 
having fallen into arrears. Some ten years later 
the old institution was revived in another form by 
the creation of "Hong merchants" — native brokers 
who bore the title of ''mandarin." The sole dif- 
ference between the old system and the new was that 
in lieu of the earlier common financial responsibility 
there was now a Consoo, an association or guild fund, 
established in order to supply, by means of a special 
tax on foreign trade, the guarantee provided for. 

A fresh impost to meet the requirements of coast 
defense was imposed in 1 805 . In the year 1 8 1 8 there 
arose a serious difficulty over the ''exportation of 
bullion " . question. The balance of trade had been 
yearly diminishing as foreign commerce grew, and the 
Chinese authorities restricted the exportation of 
silver by any vessel to three-tenths of the excess of 
imports over exports. In view of the alarming ex- 
port of silver, the authorities, in 1831, imposed such 
crushing restrictions that the supercargoes threatened 
to suspend operations altogether, later, however, 
submitting to the Chinese officials. 

The foreign trading community in Canton were 
now chafing more and more at what they considered 
the weakness of the East India Company, and show- 
ing signs of resentment at its monopoly, while they 
evinced an increasing disinclination to submit tamely 
to the exactions of the Chinese authorities. The 
;restrictions were evaded by the vessels outside the 



Bogue, where stationary ships were anchored to serve 
as warehouses. SmuggHng grew apace, and the 
emoluments of the local authorities seriously suf- 
fered. It became apparent to the Chinese that there 
was a growing determination no longer to play the 
earlier submissive role, and that with the cessation of 
the East India Company's monopoly, then imminent, 
foreign trade would be placed on an entirely new 
basis. Both the Imperial and the local authorities 
took a serious view of the position, and in 1832 
appeared an edict directing the maritime provinces to 
place their coast defenses and ships of war in repair, 
"in order to scour the seas and drive away any 
European vessels (of war) that might make their 
appearance on the coast." Collision with the 
foreigners was, in fact, felt by the Chinese to be 

For over two centuries the general relations of the 
East India Company toward the Chinese government 
were those of the suppliant trader humbly acknowl- 
edging the supreme sovereignty of the "Son of 
Heaven." Commerce was beneath the contempt 
not merely of the Court, but of the literati and 
officials, trade being fit only for the lower, or rather 
the lowest, classes. Even to the "outer barbarians," 
however, the Emperor of China was pleased to be 
clement. They were permitted to trade, under cer- 
tain disabilities, being only allowed to reside for 
brief periods at intervals in the suburbs of Canton; 
they were neither to enter the city gates nor travel 
inland ; they could only entertain in their service the 
lowest class of Chinese, the boat population, who 
are forbidden to live on shore or to compete at 



literary examinations. Under such humiliating con- 
ditions were trade and intercourse maintained. 

In fairness it must be admitted that the Chinese 
certainly saw little of the better side of the strangers 
from the West, whether hailing from Europe or 
America. To them the foreigner was a man thinking 
of nothing but gain by trade, gain at any price ; a man 
of gross material pleasures, a coarse and vicious being, 
with no appreciation of Chinese philosophy, litera- 
ture, or history, and not even the most elementary 
acquaintance with Chinese etiquette. To the Chinese, 
therefore, the foreigner appeared densely ignorant — a 
mere savage; he was the ''outer barbarian," the 
''foreign devil." The Chinese had their eyes rudely 
opened, in 1741, to the fact that, whatever their 
deficiencies might be, foreigners were possessed of 
some advantages. In that year the first British man- 
of-war the Centaur made its appearance. Under 
circumstances of considerable danger Captain Anson 
passed the Bogue, pushed on to Whampoa, and still 
further astonished the Chinese by calling, as an 
officer of King George II., upon the Viceroy of 
Canton, audaciously reminding the Chinese officials 
that etiquette must not be overlooked. To the dis- 
comfiture of the Chinese officials, the viceroy re- 
ceived him. Fifty years later the situation had not 
improved, and when two British ships arrived at 
Canton, the officials absolutely refused to allow them 
to enter the Bogue. Some time later, in 18 16, 
Captain Maxwell, of the Alceste, made his way to 
Whampoa, after returning the fire of the forts which 
had opened on his vessel — an incident discreetly 
ignored by the Chinese. 



The embassies sent with costly gifts by King 
George III., and carried out with much pomp, ac- 
comphshed nothing. Both the embassy of Lord 
Macartney, in 1792, and that of Lord Amherst, in 
18 1 5, were treated as mere "tribute-bearing" depu- 
tations. As a concession Britain was admitted by 
the Court chroniclers to an official position in the roll 
of ''tributary nations," a fiction which was actually 
maintained till recent years. Even the reception of 
ministers by the Emperor at Peking, secured after 
protracted struggles, was held till recently in a 
building associated with the reception of subject 

The more frequent visits of British men-of-war, the 
protection of Macao against French attack, and the 
gradual increase of naval forces impressed the 
Chinese and enabled the British to take a firmer 
stand against the Chinese assumption of political and 
judicial supremacy. Never officially acknowledged 
(though in fact admitted), this was now formally 
contested, and the Chinese were informed that 
foreigners on principal declined longer to submit to 
it. From that time no foreigner was surrendered to 
the Chinese authorities to be dealt with. 

In view of the impending non-renewal of the 
charter held by the East India Company, of which 
the Viceroy of Canton in 1831 had been notified, that 
official asked that a British officer should be sent to 
Canton to control trade. An act of Parliament was 
passed two years later to regulate trade with China 
and India, declaring it expedient, ''for the objects of 
trade and amicable intercourse with the dominions 
of the Emperor of China," to establish "a British 



authority in the said dominions." Three superin- 
tendents of trade — Lord Napier, Mr. Plowden, and 
Mr. (afterward Sir) J. F. Davis — were appointed, one 
of them to preside over ''a court of justice with 
criminal and admiralty jurisdiction for the trial of 
offenses committed by her Majesty's subjects in the 
said dominions, or on the high sea within a hundred 
miles from the coast of China. ' ' The superintendents 
were forbidden to engage in trade, a tonnage duty 
being sanctioned to defray the cost of their establish- 
ment. Extra-territorial jurisdiction was thus es- 
tablished, and the China War of 1841 became in- 
evitable. Lord Palmerston instructed Lord Napier 
*'to foster and protect the trade of his Majesty's 
subjects in China; to extend trade, if possible, to 
other ports of China; to induce the Chinese govern- 
ment to enter into commercial relations with the 
English government; and to seek, with peculiar 
caution and circumspection, to establish eventually 
direct diplomatic communication with the Imperial 
Court at Peking; also to have the coast of China 
surveyed, to prevent disasters"; and "to inquire 
for places where British ships might find requisite 
protection in the event of hostilities in the China 
Sea" — an injunction which led to much con- 
troversy later on. 

A serious mistake was made in associating with 
Lord Napier, as joint superintendents, two gentlemen 
who had been in the East India Company's service, 
and who, therefore, were most unlikely to receive con- 
sideration at the hands of the Chinese. The policy 
adopted was temporizing, vacillating, and ended in 
Lord Napier finding himself in a false position and 



being abandoned by his government. The cabinet, 
with all its opportunities, had learned nothing from 
the history of the East India Company, and com- 
mitted the additional blunder of acting under the 
advice of the directors of that company, who had 
already so gravely mismanaged affairs. The sad 
story of Lord Napier's mission need not be recapitu- 
lated here; enough that, after suffering all sorts of 
indignities at the hands of the Chinese authorities, 
he was at last permitted to leave Canton and pro- 
ceed to Macao, where he died — of a broken heart, it is 

Sir J. F. Davis succeeded Lord Napier, and in 1834 
recommended that a despatch should be sent to the 
Emperor of China by a small fleet, and, in the event 
of failure, that measures of coercion should be em- 
ployed. The British community, supporting this 
view, proposed that a plenipotentiary should pro- 
ceed, with an armed force, to demand reparation of 
the Emperor and to arrange trade questions. Then 
followed the "quiescent policy" of Davis and his 
successor. Gradually, however, the idea grew that 
an island must be acquired on the coast as a colony, 
Chusan being first in favor, later Ningpo, then 
Formosa. The relations between English and 
Chinese, however, became more and more strained, 
the importation of opium being one of the grounds of 
dispute, and open hostilities took place in 1839. In 
January, 1841, the island of Hongkong was ceded 
by the Chinese commissioner, Keshen, and, though 
repudiated by the Chinese government, the cession 
was confirmed by the treaty of Nanking in 1842, 
whereby five ports — Canton, Amoy, Fuchau, Ningpo, 



and Shanghai — were opened to British trade. Pos- 
session of Hongkong was taken in 1841; the next 
year it was proclaimed a free port, which it has since 
remained; and in 1843 it was constituted a Crown 

The so-called ''opium war" was really waged to 
put a stop to grievances which had been accumulat- 
ing for a hundred and fifty years. No protest against 
the drug being treated as contraband by Imperial 
decrees was made ; but when commands were issued 
to the Queen as a vassal of China, and her subjects 
treated with violence, the question entered upon 
another phase. 

In 1856 war again broke out between Great 
Britain and China, in consequence of the capture by 
the Chinese of a "lorcha," the Arrow, flying the 
British flag. Lord Elgin was sent to China as 
minister extraordinary, and after a series of warlike 
operations, including the taking of Canton, the treaty 
of Tientsin was signed in 1858. Peace was only 
temporary, however. In 1859 the British ambassa- 
dor was obstructed when on his way to Peking to 
obtain a ratification of the treaty, and it was only 
after the Anglo-French expedition had forced the 
passage of the Pei ho, captured the Taku forts, and 
camped at Peking, that the convention of Peking, 
ratifying the Tientsin Treaty, was signed in i860. 
The treaty and convention form the basis of the re- 
lations between Great Britain and China. Addi- 
tional ports in China were opened to British trade, 
provision was made for the permanent residence at 
Peking of a British representative, and Kaulun, 
opposite Hongkong, was ceded to Britain. In 1867 



China despatched her first embassy to foreign 
countries, consisting of two Chinese and the Amer- 
ican, Anson BurHngame, who died at St. Petersburg. 
The object of the mission was to obtain more favor- 
able treatment from the Occidental nations and to 
foster the impression that the Chinese were anxious 
to embark upon a policy of reform. In 1876 nego- 
tiations, arising out of the Margary murder, resulted 
in the Chifu Convention. This secured, inter alia, 
compensation, an expression of regret for the murder 
of Margary, a promise of improved regulations of the 
opium traffic and trade, and the opening of four new 
treaty ports, with six new ports on the Yangtze. In 
1890 was executed the Tibet-Sikkim Convention, 
recognizing the British protectorate over the Sikkim 
state and laying down that official relations must be 
carried on with permission of the British government. 
By the Burma Convention of 1897 the Chinese gov- 
ernment agreed to the connection of Chinese railways 
in Yunnan, if made, with the Burmese lines, to the 
appointment of a consul in Yunnan, with right of 
British subjects to residence and trade. By a special 
article, Wuchau (in Kwangsi) and Samshui (in 
Kwangtung) were opened as treaty ports and con- 
sular stations, with freedom of steamer navigation. 

Among the more important instruments which 
have affected the relations of China and Britain are 
a series of conventions regarding opium, the last, in 
191 1, being the culminating point in the attempt to 
prohibit the import of opium into China. This 
involved a self-denying ordinance on the part of 
India, which has derived a large revenue from the 
export of opium. Accordingly, after a period in 



which the amount sent from India was reduced each 
year, a commission sat to examine whether China 
herself was reducing her production. Despite the 
enormous difficulties entailed, it is proved that she 
is not only in earnest on this subject, but that her 
officials, even those formerly addicted to the habit, 
have, for the most part, carried out the regulations, 
and accordingly it was agreed, in 191 1, that in seven 
years the export of opium from India shall entirely 
cease to those districts of China which have given 
up the cultivation of the poppy. 

Another phase of British-Chinese relations is con- 
nected with the ''sphere of interest" policy which at 
one time dominated the international situation in the 
Far East. The "break-up of China" was believed 
to be imminent, and in the melee of claims by the 
Powers, which China was too weak to resist, three 
concessions were represented to the British public 
as remaining to our credit in the settling-up. They 
were the territorial extension of the island of Hong- 
kong to the limits necessary for its effective fortifi- 
cation; the lease of Wei-hai-wei (whose raison d'etre, 
save as a health resort, has never been made clear) ; 
and the establishment of a ''sphere of influence" in 
the Yangtze Valley. As for the last, which was a 
shibboleth of our Far Eastern diplomatists for many 
years, it appeared that it rested on no concession or 
agreement with China, for no such document ever 
existed; but upon an offhand reply to a query of the 
British minister to the Tsungli Yamen as to whether 
China was prepared to alienate her great central 
zone. The reply was, "Of course not!" and this 
diplomatic correspondence had to be carefully pre- 



pared and edited for publication in order to ''save 
face," not for the Oriental, but for the Occidental 
statesmen. At the same time Great Britain had, 
at that period, a position in the Yangtze which, if 
properly utilized, might have secured those British 
interests which lie in the improvement of trade re- 
lations and facilities, and not in territorial aggression. 
The writer passed through the Yangtze region in 
1899, and his observations of the conditions there, 
as expressed in ''The Overland to China," reveal the 
weakness of the policy which, practically from the 
time of the death of Palmerston onward, has handi- 
capped us in China. In the whole province of 
Szechuan, with a population of some sixty millions, 
and one of the best markets for British goods, there 
was, early in 1899, not a single British consul or 
vice-consul. Experienced officers had been des- 
patched elsewhere, and the vice-consul at Chung- 
king had been sent off to investigate the murder of 
a missionary in a remote district of another province. 
The trader is never the spoiled darling of British 
diplomacy, despite our tradition as "a nation of shop- 
keepers," and the British merchant in the Far East 
has had to watch while the trade which might have 
been his has been gradually absorbed by others 
with more sympathetic and watchful governments. 
British diplomacy at this period, and since, has been 
exclusively occupied with Peking, the Manchu 
dynasty, Li Hung Chang, or Yuan Shih-kai. 

The relations of Japan with China is a subject too 
vast to be summarized with any real perspective. 
The briefest references must suffice. Japan was the 
pupil of China in arts and letters, and the relations 
12 165 


of the two people have retained, on the Chinese side, 
that attitude of superiority, despite the defeat of 
1904-05 and subsequent proofs of Japan's efficiency 
as a modem state. Korea was the casus belli in 1894, 
and the treaty of Shimonoseki (1895) recognized the 
complete independence of Korea, and ceded to 
Japan the southern portion of Fengtien (adjoining 
Korea) and the islands of Formosa and the Pesca- 
dores. China, moreover, in 1896, by a treaty of 
commerce and navigation, agreed to the reception 
of a Japanese diplomatic agent at the Court of 
Peking, and to the residence of consular officials and 
subjects throughout China wherever opened to for- 
eign residence and trade. Japanese subjects were 
to have the same privileges and immunities enjoyed 
by other nations under the most favored nation. 
Japanese vessels were to have the right of landing and 
shipping at all ports of call already opened or to be 
opened later. Japanese subjects were to have the 
right of travel in the interior under passports issued 
by their own consuls. The tariffs and tariff rates 
with Western Powers were extended to Japan. 
Some seven years later (in 1903) a supplementary 
treaty for the purpose of promoting the commercial 
relations between China and Japan was executed, 
following on the supposed advantages obtained by 
the Mackay Treaty of that year. This dealt chiefly 
with likifiy trade-marks, and cognate questions, and 
the right of navigation on inland waterways — a most 
important concession — and the opening of Changsha 
in the province of Hunan, a region hitherto closed 
against the foreigner. After the defeat of 1895, 
China began to realize the necessity of reform, and 



naturally turned to her nearest neighbor for examples 
of how to accomplish it; but it was only after the 
Boxer rising, when the disciplined action of the 
Japanese roused Chinese admiration and gratitude, 
that the "boom" in Japanese models set in. Yuan 
Shih-kai and other provincial authorities engaged 
Japanese instructors for their schools and for their 
troops. The rush to Japanese universities and the 
development of the press under Japanese tutelage 
are described elsewhere. The defeat of Russia by 
Japan (1904-05) accentuated the successful reorgani- 
zation of the latter, and the vulnerability of the 
Great Power which had hung so long over China like 
a cloud. But although China humbled herself to 
take instruction from her former pupil, it must not 
be supposed that she has departed from her old 
standpoint, nor will she adopt Japanese methods 
en bloc. A Chinese student has expressed very well 
a prevalent view of Japan. It was easier for her 
to imitate, he said, than for China, which had always 
originated, whereas Japan had borrowed practically 
all her ideas from others. Chinese renascence will 
be possible only on strong national lines. The situa- 
tion in Manchuria does not conduce altogether to 
harmony between the two governments, and a whole 
group of questions, including the Yalu River timber 
concession and the Sin-ming-tun railway, have led 
to strained relations, ending in what was practically 
an ultimatum from Japan. 

The status of Manchuria was settled by the treaty 
of Portsmouth between Japan and Russia, and China 
had no choice save to confirm this in the additional 
agreement of 1905 between her and Japan; but 



whereas in her previous agreements with other 
foreign Powers it is she who has striven to inter- 
pret" the clauses in a manner favorable to herself, 
or to find loopholes for evasion, in this case she has 
to deal with another Oriental Power strong enough 
to adhere to its own view of what the situation 
should be. 

The most important event in the history of foreign 
relations was, of course, the Boxer rising of 1900, and 
its sequel in the expedition of the allied armies and 
the capture and sack of Peking. For ten years anti- 
foreign feeling had been on the increase, and in 1891 
anti-foreign riots took place in many parts, largely 
instigated by a scholar named Chow-Han. The 
Chinese government usually had to pay money com- 
pensation for these attacks, but the method of 
punishment generally allowed the real culprits to 
escape. The acts of foreign aggression which followed 
the war of 1894-95 were fuel to the fire of popular 
resentment, and the Boxer movement was certainly, 
in its inception, what it was represented to be by 
the central government — a popular rising against 
foreigners in the guise (so familiar to the Chinese) of 
a secret society. They began to attack Christian 
churches and missions in Shantung, but very quickly 
the flames spread to Chihli; and, when it became 
apparent that foreigners in the capital itself were 
threatened, neither the Empress-Dowager nor her 
principal advisers saw fit to offer any opposition. 
Indeed, it is clear that they alternated between a 
desire to use the Boxers as their instruments and fear 
of the possible consequences. 

The foreigners in Peking took refuge in the British, 



American, and adjoining legations, where they were 
besieged under most trying circumstances, and de- 
fended themselves with courage and skill. Neverthe- 
less, it is doubtful if they could have held out if the 
Chinese had been united in desiring their downfall. 
The behavior of Chinese Christians, thousands of 
whom suffered martyrdom at this time, was often 
exemplary. The relief of Peking was first attempted 
by a force from the British and American war- 
vessels, which were stationed off Taku, but this force 
was compelled to retreat and narrowly escaped 
annihilation. So far the Boxer movement had had 
ostensibly no connection with the Chinese govern- 
ment, but after the despatch of the expeditionary 
force the commanders of the foreign fleets off Taku 
summoned the Chinese to surrender the forts, and 
on their refusal bombarded and took them. The 
Peking government then declared war, and more 
openly took sides with the Boxers. The Powers 
thereupon despatched strong forces to China, and a 
relief expedition entered Peking on August 14. 
Next day the city was occupied. 

The motives which prompted the Empress-Dow- 
ager and her advisers in their fatal policy were as 
complex as their action was weak and disastrous. 
The spoliation of China after 1895, as has been said, 
roused indignation all over China, which was not 
abated by the rush for railway and mining conces- 
sions by foreigners. Peking at this period was filled 
with a horde of concession hunters and mongers, and 
more than one legation appeared to exist for the 
purpose of feeding these gentry. Chinese indigna- 
tion with the foreigner certainly had much justifi- 



cation. But the Empress and her advisers must 
have had some inkHng of the avalanche they were 
bringing down on their heads, and cannot have been 
altogether deceived into the belief that with one 
great effort they could rid themselves of foreigners 
forever. It is far more likely, and in accordance 
with the tactics they pursued (sending fruit and com- 
plimentary letters to the besieged embassies one day, 
and orders for their extermination another), that 
they designed to divert from themselves the growing 
dissatisfaction in which their impending doom was 
already foreshadowed. The entry of the allied 
armies into Peking, their progress through the 
Forbidden City, and the subsequent spoliation of 
Peking, are a chapter in Chinese history which 
no nation can recall with entire satisfaction. But it 
was not the Chinese people who were defeated and 
humbled, but their Manchu rulers. Peking is their 
city ; her fall tore the last vestige of prestige from the 
dynasty, and only the personality and real ability of 
Tze Hsi kept the Throne intact in the following years. 
The price China had to pay for the Boxer outrage was 
the erection of a statue in Peking to the German 
ambassador. Baron von Kettler, who was killed in the 
streets; the despatch of an imperial clansman to 
apologize for this to Berlin; and the payment of an 
enormous indemnity, part of which the United States 
agreed to cancel on condition that the money should 
be spent on education — a step which may bring very 
great influence as its result. 

This action on the part of the United States illus- 
trates the difference which she has always striven to 
maintain between her attitude and that of other 



Powers in China. Her position in the Philippines 
actually brings her into close proximity, but her main 
objective has always been trade across the Pacific, 
and not territorial acquisition. She has executed 
four commercial treaties with China, and has estab- 
lished a very considerable position in that empire. 
During the tenure of office, as foreign secretary, of 
the late John Hay the United States began to play a 
leading part in diplomatic negotiations with China. 
There is, however, one crucial feature in Chino- 
American relations — the question of Chinese immi- 
gration. As early as 1880 the United States became 
alarmed at the influx of Chinese into her Pacific 
region, and sent a commission to China to secure the 
regulation of cheap labor. As a result the United 
States secured in a convention the power to regulate, 
limit, or even suspend, if necessary, the incoming of 
Chinese laborers. In 1894 she had become more 
determined, and China had to consent to the pro- 
hibition of her nationals for ten years. In 1904, 
when the arrangement had to be renewed, China 
attempted in vain to secure better terms, and the 
result was a boycott of American goods. This did 
not last long, but it was the occasion of a display of 
national feeling and even of national solidarity which 
was a sign of the times. 

The review of the relations of foreign Powers with 
China, while it reveals the evils and dangers of the 
policy pursued by the government at Peking, does 
not leave any nation with grounds for special self- 
congratulation. As the period of attempted exclu- 
sion is now at an end, and as we shall probably see 
the whole of China opened to foreign trade as soon as 



there is a central government strong enough to 
enforce the necessary regulations, we need not dwell 
too much on the struggles which were necessary to 
overcome the policy of exclusion. But it is clear 
from history that this policy was not indigenous to 
China, where in earlier times foreigners were wel- 
comed, but was due to the Manchu rulers, who im- 
posed it for their own purposes. Unfortunately, in 
the course of the relations which grew out of that 
mistaken policy, foreign nations had to take action 
which involved them in hostilities with the Chinese. 
Then, as it became obvious that the Manchu gov- 
ernment was as weak as it was bigoted, foreign na- 
tions took by force more than they would have 
demanded had they been met differently. The 
result was that anti-foreign feeling which, though 
under better control, still constitutes an element of 
bitterness and suspicion in the relations of China to 
the outside world. 



ALTHOUGH a minister plenipotentiary was ap- 
pointed by Great Britain after the signature of 
the treaty of Nanking in 1842, the office was merged 
in that of governor of Hongkong, and the diplomatic 
function remained practically dormant until after the 
convention of Peking in i860, following the treaty 
of Tientsin in 1858. In fact, the war of 1856-60 
might be said to have been undertaken for the pur- 
pose of establishing diplomatic relations with the 
central government. Up to that time there had 
been no intercourse except at the five ports opened 
to trade by the treaty of Nanking. At four of these 
ports, where the influence of one or two strong men 
in the newly established consular service had been 
stamped on the new relations between the Chinese 
and British authorities, and where a natural develop- 
ment of commerce had taken place, everything was 
peaceable and prosperous. But at the principal 
port. Canton, where, most of all, firmness and con- 
sistency were needed, these qualities were unfortu- 
nately lacking, and the result was that an intolerable 
state of things was allowed to grow up. Taking full 
advantage of the weakness of the Britivsh attitude, 
the Chinese authorities became more and more in- 



Solent and aggressive, until at length, in 1856, the 
cup of their iniquity overflowed, and reprisals had 
to be undertaken. The right to enter the city, which 
is the seat of a governor and governor-general, had 
been waived for a term of seven years, in deference 
to what was represented as the uncontrollable tur- 
bulence of the people. At the end of that period the 
reasons for still further postponing the privilege had, 
of course, grown stronger, and entry into the city 
and intercourse with the authorities were still denied 
to the representatives of Great Britain. Serious 
troubles had ensued consequent on this anomalous 
situation. There had been assassinations of English- 
men for which no redress was obtained, insults of 
every kind accumulated, and the more submissive 
the foreigners showed themselves the more were they 
treated as savages and slaves. The whole mer- 
cantile community were kept in what was virtually a 
prison, their peregrinations being confined within the 
area of what was somewhat euphemistically called a 
' ' garden. ' ' It was only a question of time as to when 
this unbearable tyranny must lead to a catastrophe. 
The spark that ignited the gunpowder was the seizure 
of the crew of a "lorcha" or schooner belonging to 
Hongkong and flying the British ensign. 

The consul for Canton, Mr. (afterward Sir Harry) 
Parkes, happened to be a man possessed of two great 
qualities — clear insight and iron resolution. He de- 
manded prompt redress, and received insolent re- 
plies. The Chinese authorities did not comprehend 
the change that was involved in the succession of a 
strong man, and were for ''continuing the treat- 
ment," as the doctors say in chronic cases. When 



the matter was put into the hands of the British 
admiral he limited himself to a single demand — i.e., 
the treaty right of entering the city and of conferring 
with the authorities. This being refused with scorn, 
Sir Michael Seymour made his own way to the 
yamen of the Viceroy Yeh, but did not find his 
Excellency at home. Thus began the ''war "-like 
operations which dragged on, with intervals of false 
peace, until they culminated in the occupation of the 
Chinese capital. The primary object throughout, 
or, to use the military phrase, the objective, of the 
hostilities which extended over a space of four years 
(from October, 1856, till October, i860) was nothing 
more or less than to obtain by direct intercourse with 
the Peking Court a remedy for the grievances which 
British subjects and officials had so long and so 
patiently — pusillanimously would not be too strong 
a word — endured in the provincial capital. Canton. 
Further extension of trade as an ulterior object 
was, of coiu*se, never lost sight of by the British 
statesmen of that time. 

The future of British interests in China being thus 
closely bound up in this sovereign remedy, the inaug- 
uration of diplomatic relations acquired a character 
of crucial importance. It was by no means a thing 
"to be taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, or wan- 
tonly." It was an incursion into an unsurveyed 
territory, where the greatest circumspection was 
called for. The success of the new experiment de- 
pended on the skill with which it was carried out, 
and more especially on the first step, which would 
give tone and direction to the whole course of future 
international relations. The conditions under which 



intercourse was to be conducted were, of course, 
unknown — had, in fact, to be evolved by actual ex- 
perience. The Chinese Court was called upon to 
break with all its traditions and to discover a plat- 
form on which it could treat foreign nations on terms 
of equality. This was no light matter; it was a 
revolution in the most conservative body in the 
known world. The importance of the demand was 
felt equally by both negotiants. To the British 
envoy access to the Imperial Court was the sine qua 
non of his mission; to the Chinese it was the last 
ditch, the point on which they could make no sur- 
render. Both sides understood this; and when the 
Chinese gave way in order to get rid of the British 
envoy and the naval squadron supporting him at 
Tientsin, it was only to draw him into an ambush. 
The treaty of Tientsin was, from the Chinese point of 
view, simply a device to gain time in order to bar the 
way of access against the minister whom they had 
covenanted to receive. The temporary success of 
this expedient was signalized in the British repulse 
before the Taku forts in 1859. The resistance to the 
advent of a British representative was finally over- 
come, so far as mere force could overcome it, by the 
Anglo-French campaign of i860, which resulted in 
the capture of Peking, causing the flight, followed 
soon after by the death, of the Emperor Hienfung. 

Although, therefore, nothing was known of the 
machinery or the forms under which the new diplo- 
matic intercourse was to proceed, there was no room 
for doubt as to the spirit in which the foreign minis- 
ters would be received. As they could not be ex- 
cluded by material force, they would be neutralized 



as far as possible by moral expedients. The series of 
deceptions which the Chinese — not without justifi- 
cation, being the weaker party — had practised on the 
intruders during successive negotiations afforded 
ample proof that the high officers of the Court dif- 
fered in no way from the high officers in the provinces, 
of whose manners and customs British officials had 
had ample experience. The lesson w^hich twenty 
years had taught was that the Chinese were friendly 
and reasonable under a firm hand, but insolent and 
aggressive when met with deference and weakness. 
It was no new lesson, but simply the teaching of all 
human experience since history began. 

It might have been expected that there would be 
no repetition, on the new stage of Peking, of the mis- 
taken policy which had been followed for so many 
years, with such unhappy results, at Canton: that 
the ministers who filled the new posts would never 
forego the advantage which they had derived from 
following in the suite of an irresistible military force. 
The plain fact is, however, that they actually did 
these very things, and in establishing themselves in 
the Chinese capital they ignored not only the results 
of all the experience gained at Canton and the other 
open ports and of their own personal experience in 
the negotiations at which they had assisted, but also 
that knowledge of the laws of human action which 
every man of the world possesses. They assumed, 
and acted as if they believed, that a miracle had sud- 
denly reversed the Chinese character, turning nega- 
tive to positive and positive to negative; and to 
this initial error may be traced thirty-eight years of 
a policy of hallucination, which has been one of the 



efficient factors in bringing the Chinese Empire near 
disruption and British interests there into a parlous 
state. It is not always easy to isolate the acts of 
British diplomacy from those of the other Powers; 
but it is fair to hold British policy responsible, be- 
cause Britain possessed and maintained the lead 
until some thirty -four years ago. Beyond doubt the 
false move made, the false direction taken at the 
beginning, was chiefly due to the British line of 
action at Peking. 

Whether it was a kind of remorse for the act of 
vandalism committed in the destruction of the 
Chinese art treasures in the Summer Palace or a 
peculiar and misdirected sentiment on the part of 
individuals, the attitude of the British minister in 
Peking was more that of the representative of a 
defeated Power than of a victorious one. For a long 
time Peking was treated by him as a sacred place 
which would be profaned by the intrusion of travelers 
or visitors, and severe regulations were promulgated 
for the restraint, under penalty, of inquisitive 
British subjects. The motive, of course, was unim- 
peachable, but the idea of obliterating the memory of 
the burning and pillage of the Summer Palace, the 
whole justification and utility of which depended on 
the memory of it being kept fresh, by punishing an 
inoffensive tourist for looking at the ruins, was not 
very practical. Nor were the obsequious efforts to 
conciliate the Chinese, of which this was but a type, 
calculated to have any other effect than to inflate 
them with an already too confident conceit, and to 
render all rational business with them impracticable. 
This is the result which was naturally to be expected, 



and it is precisely what happened, the circle of evil 
consequences having gone on widening during all the 
subsequent years. The metropolitan ministers never, 
indeed, resorted to the offensive language to which 
the provincials had become addicted, but the evasive- 
ness of the Foreign Board has, if possible, exceeded 
that of the provincial yamens, while their superior 
manner of intimating a non possumus has been no 
less exasperating. The urbanity of the Peking 
Yamen, indeed, was carried to almost comical excess 
at times, as, when sitting placidly and listening to the 
objurgations of a foreign minister driven to despair 
by their impassiveness, they would help him out 
with the opprobrious expressions which came with 
difficulty to his tongue. It is not desirable to con- 
centrate on any one name the blame which should be 
shared by many, but as the first accredited minister 
to China after the war of 1856-60 was one whose 
prestige was quite exceptional, he had a free hand to 
shape his course in Peking without the guidance of 
the home government. It is Sir Frederick Bruce, 
therefore, who is mainly responsible for the truckling 
policy; and he was the first to feel and deplore its 
disastrous results. No doubt a minister, placed as 
he was, and as any minister to China is to-day, is 
largely dependent on his secretaries and sinologues, 
just as the home government is dependent on him; 
but if he is to elude responsibility by sheltering him- 
self behind a subordinate, it were better to make the 
secretary minister, so that the public might have 
the satisfaction of knowing who is responsible for 
its affairs. 

The lesson of our many years' experience was as 



clear as the day. It was simply that the Chinese 
government should be compelled to fulfil its engage- 
ments, not only in the interest of foreigners, but in its 
own. This policy had never failed of success in the 
hands of British consuls of the stamp of Alcock, 
Parkes, Medhurst, Alabaster, and one or two others. 
The yielding policy had always failed, both in the 
object aimed at and in retaining the friendship of the 
Chinese officials to whom we yielded. No more 
favorable conditions could be conceived for impress- 
ing and influencing the government of China than 
those which existed at the close of the campaign of 
i860. They had been routed, the Emperor had fled 
to Jehol, those who were left to carry on the govern- 
ment were trembling for their heads. They were in 
the condition of a horse that has been strapped up 
and thrown by a horse-breaker. Anything could 
have been done with them. This is testified to by 
Mr. H. N. Lay, who was present and in a better 
position to know than any one else who has yet 
chosen to utter his opinion. This is what he says: 

When I left China the Emperor's government, under 
the pressure of necessity and with the beneficial terror 
established by the allied foray to Peking in i860 fresh 
in their recollection, was in the best of moods, willing to be 
gmded, thankful for counsel, grateful for help, and in 
return for that help prepared to do what was right by the 

And within two years this was the state of things : 

What did I find on my return? The face of things 
was entirely changed. There was the old insolent de- 



meanor, the nonsensical language of exclusion, the open 
mockery of all treaties. ... In short, all the ground gained 
by the treaty of 1858 had been frittered away, and we were 
thrust back into the position we occupied before the 
war — one of helpless remonstrance and impotent menace 
. . . the labor of years lost through egregious mismanage- 
ment. The Foreign Board looked upon our European 
representatives as so many wis faineants. . . . Prince 
Kung was no longer accessible ... he professed to be en- 
gaged with more important matters. 

We have dwelt on the opening of foreign diplo- 
matic intercourse at some length because it consti- 
tutes the substratum of subsequent history, including 
all crises in Chinese affairs ; and what follows in this 
chapter will require constant mental reference to the 
foregoing remarks in order to make it intelligible. 

The omission to implement the treaty of Tientsin 
of 1858 by at once placing a representative in Peking, 
an omission which caused the naval disaster at Taku 
in 1859 and necessitated the campaign of i860, was 
not repeated in that year. The minister himself did 
not remain during the winter, there being no suitable 
quarters for his accommodation ; but a junior official 
in the consular service, Mr. Atkins, was left in charge. 
The legations were formally opened in the spring of 
1 86 1, Sir Frederick Bruce, younger brother of the 
Lord Elgin who had negotiated both the treaties, rep- 
resenting Great Britain. In the Chinese government 
departments no provision existed for the totally un- 
foreseen contingency of receiving foreign representa- 
tives otherwise than as tribute-bearers; but the 
necessity for doing so having been at last recognized 
by the Imperial government, the board or office 
13 181 


known as the Tsungli Yamen was established in 
January, 1861, and was ready to transact business 
on the arrival of the foreign ministers. It did not 
take rank with the Six Boards, and bore at first a 
tentative character. It has been aptly called a 
species of cabinet, composed of members of certain 
state departments. The head of the institution 
then, as until the day of his decease, was Prince 
Kung, the sixth son of the Emperor Taukwang, who 
was brother of the Emperor Hienfung — then in re- 
tirement at Jehol, where he died in October, 1861 — 
and uncle of the late "reforming" Emperor. The 
prince was from the first a reasonable and sober man 
of affairs, courteous in manner, whose character 
inspired hopes of the regeneration of the Chinese 
state. But probably the member of the Tsungli 
Yamen who approached nearer to the ideal of a 
patriot, was serious and intelligent, and had almost 
more than an ordinary statesman's grasp of affairs 
and their possibilities, was Wensiang, between whom 
and the foreign legations a greater intimacy sprang 
up than has ever been possible with any Chinese or 
Manchu statesman since his death, which occurred 
in 1875. 

The intercourse between this enlightened and 
patriotic man and the foreign representatives, more 
especially the British, who in this connection may be 
held to include the head of the Imperial maritime or 
foreign customs, was fruitful in an exchange of views 
of a highly interesting character, both oral and writ- 
ten, which, if collected, might form the basis of a new 
political philosophy. Whoever studies the works of 
Buckle, Spencer, or other writers who endeavored to 



generalize from world-wide data is constantly re- 
minded of a great gap in their chain of reasoning, 
because a fourth of the human race is virtually ex- 
cluded. Dr. Pearson is an exception to this, but he 
also fails to master his Chinese data. For the first 
timic a genuine representative of the ethnic con- 
sciousness of China, with four thousand years of 
continuous accumulated history and tradition behind 
him and a practical problem of extreme exigency in 
front of him, was brought into sympathetic com.mun- 
ion with wise men from the West, bringing in their 
persons the mellow fruit of their two thousand years 
of strife and progress; and the result of the contact, 
if given to the world, could not fail to be highly in- 
structive. But this was unfortunately a mere epi- 
sode, which led to nothing but disappointment, felt 
the more deeply on account of the high hopes which 
had been not unreasonably raised. There was no 
successor to Wensiang. The Tsungli Yamen fell 
into the condition of an ordinary government depart- 
ment, with special vices of its own — an institution for 
the prevention of business. The numbers of its 
members, originally three, increased, and varied from 
seven to nine, but its fatal incapacity lay in the fact 
that it was a body without a head ; for, though there 
was always a nominal president, he absented himself 
when he chose from the daily attendance. The 
principle of responsibility being carried to such 
lengths in China as cannot be understood by the mere 
use of the same word in the West, the vice which 
detracts so much from efficiency among Western 
officials, the habit of evading responsibility, is so 
fully developed there that it seemed as if the new 



Foreign Board in Peking had no other reason for its 
existence. The yamen, until forced into greater 
activity by the pressure of events resulting from the 
Chino- Japanese War, served merely as the cold water 
which extinguished the hot irons thrust into it by 
the ardor of the foreign agents. To transact busi- 
ness with the board was declared by Sir Harry 
Parkes to be a physical tour de force. Sir R. Alcock 
more minutely described it in the Fortnightly Review, 
May, 1876: 

It is beating the air to talk to them of treaty rights 
and obligations, the claims of justice, or the benefits that 
would accrue to them, as to us, by a more progressive 
and liberal policy. The tyro in such work is at first 
charmed with the courtesy and patience shown in lis- 
tening to what he hopes may prove convincing arguments. 
They are even met, in reply, with a certain show of ap- 
preciative intelligence and willingness to be convinced 
or better informed. When, however, many such inter- 
views and interminable correspondence in further elucida- 
tion have exhausted the subject, and the time has arrived 
for action or definite result, the disillusion quickly follows. 
Perhaps at a final meeting for the purpose of settlement, 
when there is nothing more apparently to be said on either 
side, his proposal to settle the terms of agreement is met 
by a request in the blandest accents, and with a perfectly 
unmoved countenance, to explain what it is that is wanted, 
as he is ready to hear ! — all that passed in weeks of discus- 
sion is as though it had never been. It is simply ignored, 
and the whole argument, in which days or weeks have 
been constuned, has to be begun de novo, or abandoned 
as hopeless. What diplomacy can avail against such 



And the modus operandi was still more minutely 
depicted by a correspondent of the Times in 1884, 
cited in the Life of Sir Harry Parkes, by Stanley Lane 
Poole : 

They commence by the delicate plaisanterie of offer- 
ing refreshments which they know their visitor will not 
touch, and the attendants know the art of killing time 
by bringing in the repast, dish by dish, with infinite fuss 
and ceremony. The visitor sits meanwhile, more or less 
patiently, on a hard seat in a cheerless room, grimy with 
venerable dirt, the north wind moaning through the 
crevices. Fortunately the etiquette of the country per- 
mits the hat to be kept on, and necessity compels the 
visitor to wear a thick ulster with the fur-lined collar 
turned up to cover the ears, if it be winter. At last, when 
the melon-seeds and sugar-plums have been distributed 
in saucers all over the only table on which the foreigner 
would have liked to spread his papers, business is sup- 
posed to commence, half an hour having been happily 
consumed in arranging sweetmeats. ' * And now, ' ' observes 
the visitor, ''what is your answer about the robbery of 
merchandise belonging to Mr. Smith at Nam-kwei, and 
the beating of his servants for refusing to pay the illegal 
extortions of the officials?" One of their rules is that no 
one shall speak first. So they take sidelong glances at 
each other and keep silence imtil one, bolder than the rest, 
opens his mouth, as much to the surprise as relief of his 
comrades, who watch the reckless man in the hope that 
he will drop something which may serve hereafter to put 
a sting into some surreptitious charge against him. What 
he does say is, ''Take some of these walnuts, they come 
from the prefecture of Long-way, which was celebrated 
for the excellence of its fruit!" Then follows a discussion 
on the merits of walnuts, which is, however, not nearly 



such excellent fooling as Lord Granville's discourse on tea- 
roses to the gentleman who sought an interview on some 
important question connected with China, but it fulfils 
the same purpose. When they do speak, they all speak at 
once, and, like Mr. Puff's friends, their unanimity is some- 
thing wonderful, and their courage rises to heroism. 
What they do say can, of course, be neither understood 
nor answered; so much the better, since time has been 
killed, with the arrow of controversy still in the quiver. 
The foreign minister's lips begin to grow pale, and other 
signs of exhaustion warn the courageous ones that it is 
time to shout louder if haply they may stun their auditor 
with their noise. 

Obviously, then, the so-called Foreign Office of 
China was a negative quantity, having the faculty 
neither of initiation nor appreciation. Its attitude 
toward foreign ideas was that of a deaf person in 
regard to sounds or of a blind man in regard to 
colors. The phenomenon is not so very uncommon 
even among men of Western race and education when 
strange subjects are for the first time expounded. 
A delusive grammatical comprehension of the phrase- 
ology is constantly mistaken for a real intelligence 
of the matter, which, however often explained, still 
leaves the auditor, who lacks the necessary faculty, 
puzzled to know what it is all about. The impossi- 
bility of imparting to even highly trained and 
eagerly receptive minds in the West a conception of 
the life of the Chinese and of their cogitations on 
matters of national policy or sociology might have 
suggested to foreign ministers possible mitigating cir- 
cumstances in judging of Chinese obstruct iveness. 
It was not a simple quantity, but a mixture of mulish - 



ness, blankness, and dread of personal responsibility. 
The fact, however, remains that a stone wall would 
have been about as effective an instrument of policy 
as this coterie of Chinese statesmen; and an early 
recognition of the true state of the case might have 
saved much gratuitous heart-burning in the first and 
more fatalistic callousness in the later incumbents of 
diplomatic posts. Moreover, a more general recog- 
nition of the facts would have saved foreign govern- 
ments, the British in particular, from profound mis- 
guidance in their Far Eastern poHcy. These have 
all, except one, lived on delusions which events of the 
most drastic character have failed altogether to dis- 
pel. In the incompetence and impracticability of 
the officially appointed medium is to be found the 
reason, though not the excuse, for trusting to un- 
orthodox substitute channels of communication 
which have led to no satisfactory results, and in the 
nature of things could never do so. 

Diplomatic intercourse in China opened under a 
cloud, which exercised a most adverse influence over 
its early, and by consequence over its whole, de- 
velopment. That was the absence of the Emperor, 
who had fled before the invading host in i860 and 
had not been induced to return to his capital when he 
died in the autumn of 1861 . The government was in 
commission, and consequently weak. In one way 
this fact rendered it pliable, while in another it dis- 
posed the foreign representatives to a forbearance 
which proved fatal to good working relations. There 
was no sovereign to whom ministers could deliver 
their credentials ; hence the question of audience was 
postponed. Matters were not improved when the 



throne became occupied by a child and the Regents 
were two women. Neither did the "audience ques- 
tion" improve by keeping; in fact, international 
relations were stamped with a provisional character 
during the whole time of the minority. The first 
audience granted by the Emperor Tungchih was in 
1873; it was purely formal, everything being done 
on the Chinese side to minimize its importance, and 
its practical effect on business was absolutely nil. 
All the hopes of improved relations which had been 
based on it proved illusory; there was only the 
Tsungli Yamen, with the imbecility of age grafted on 
to the ignorance of youth, as at this day. 

There was another cloud which cast a depressing 
shadow on Chinese affairs, the Taiping rebellion, 
which from trivial beginnings in 1849 or 1850 had 
spread havoc over the richest and most populous 
provinces of the Empire. How near the dynasty 
came to be shaken by this movement is only a matter 
of speculation, but the paralysis of order in the 
provinces, added to the humiliation of the Emperor 
by foreigners, formed a combination which was any- 
thing but speculative. It was not only the Chinese 
government that was paralyzed by these calamitous 
circumstances ; the foreign representatives in Peking 
and their governments at home found themselves 
in what may be well called an impossible situation. 
While they ought to have been pressing and molding 
the central government into the forms which were 
calculated to insure good relations in the future, 
they were as much concerned as the Chinese them- 
selves in checking the ravages of the rebellion, and 
both directly and indirectly the French and British 



governments assisted in the final suppression of the 
movement. The patient had first to be cured of his 
disease before being corrected in his manners, but the 
convalescence was so protracted that the opportunity 
for correction never came. 

An incident in connection with the rebellion, and 
one which brought into sudden prominence certain 
features in the new international relationship, de- 
serves a passing notice. That was the commission- 
ing of a steam flotilla manned by British seamen and 
officered and commanded by British naval officers, 
known as the Lay- Osborne fleet." The ships were 
ordered by Prince Kung through Sir Robert (then 
Mr.) Hart, the locum tenens of Mr. Lay, the first 
Inspector- General of Customs, who was in England 
on leave from 1861 to 1863. The immediate pur- 
pose of the fleet was the suppression of the Taiping 
rebellion by the capture of Nanking and other cities 
on the banks of the Great River. The ships arrived 
in command of Captain Sherard Osborne, R. N., but 
the contracts which Mr. Lay had made with Captain 
Osborne and the officers under the direct sanction 
and supervision of the British government of the day 
were not ratified by the Chinese, and the force was 
disbanded and the ships sold, while Mr. Lay decided 
to resign the Chinese service. It is not necessary 
to enter into the merits of this abortive transaction, 
but it is interesting to note what was the cause of 
the difference between Prince Kung and Mr. Lay 
which led to the break-up of the scheme. It was 
precisely the same kind of misunderstanding which 
twenty-seven years later, with all our added expe- 
rience, led to the resignation of Captain Lang from 



the Chinese service. Mr. Lay had acted on the 
behef that, as his authority came from Peking, he 
was organizing an Imperial fleet for China; he re- 
fused, therefore, to have it placed under the orders of 
provincial mandarins, and he testified to the sin- 
cerity of his convictions by throwing up a promising 
career rather than sanction the employment of such 
a military weapon at the pleasure of local officials. 
Had Mr. Lay not been affected as others also were by 
the glamour of a central government, he would per- 
haps have suspected from the first that Prince Kung 
could not really intend what he said in the sense 
in which he (Mr. Lay) received the communication. 
It was a case of words being understood in different 
senses, not, perhaps, without a secret intention of 
misleading. But Mr. Lay's misjudgment was venial 
compared with that of the British officials respon- 
sible for the engagement of Captain Lang, whose 
services were lent, some twenty years later, by the 
British to the Chinese government for the special 
purpose of organizing the Chinese fieet. He was not 
only placed under the orders of Li Hung Chang, but 
was made subordinate to the Chinese admiral, with 
whom he had been induced to believe he was asso- 
ciated on equal terms. The whole Lay- Osborne inci- 
dent was promptly disposed of in the summer of 1863, 
and ceased to disturb the even flow of diplomacy; 
and Captain Lang, having found his position untena- 
ble, sent in his resignation. That these two separate 
incidents, involving such important issues connected 
with naval supremacy in the Far East, should have 
ended so disastrously illustrates the strange fatality 
which has attended our dealings with China. 



It is important to observe that the sapping of 
Occidental influence in Peking, through the deferen- 
tial tactics of the diplomatists there, ran for a number 
of years parallel with the remarkably clear and strong 
policy of the British government at home. From the 
time when its assertion was rendered necessary by 
the insults at Canton in 1856 until several years after 
the final suppression of the rebellion by Gordon, our 
government followed a course both in China and 
Japan which was at once bold and prudent, eminently 
conducive to the best interests of Great Britain and 
the civilized world, and to the peace and welfare of 
the Chinese Empire. The rebellion in China was 
really put down by Lord Palmerston, for it was in full 
faith of his loyal support that the British ofiicers on 
the spot were emboldened to take the decided course 
which led to such great results as the practical open- 
ing of the river Yangtze to the commerce of the 
world, the suppression of piracy and all other forms 
of disorder, and the covering with myriads of white 
sails of that vast expanse of water which, in 1861, 
was as desolate as the Arctic Ocean. This resolute 
and compact policy was most exhilarating to all 
foreigners engaged in commercial pursuits or mission 
work in China; not to those of British nationality 
alone, nor even to foreigners exclusively, but to all 
Chinese — and there are vast numbers of them — who 
came within the influence of the British system. 
It was a wholesome, manly, and inspiring influence, 
and to the men of that generation it seemed as 
permanently established as if it were part of the 
order of nature. They even ceased to be thankful 
for it, taking it all as a matter of course, like light 



and air and water. The policy, indeed, was attacked 
on party grounds, and on grounds which, narrow as 
they were, went beyond mere party controversy, by 
Bright and Cobden, who advocated our retirement 
from the Chinese ports to some peaceful island 
whence we could conduct our trade, represented by 
them as of a very petty nature. But the straight- 
forward and business-like expositions of Lord Palmer- 
ston, his perfect mastery of the whole question, and 
his lusty large-heartedness, easily swept away oppo- 
sition; and the country settled down comfortably 
in the feeling that, however little it understood of 
these far-distant affairs, their management was in 
competent hands. This happy state of things came 
to an end, and it is sad to have to look back upon so 
recent a period as a golden age little understood by 
the generation then living. It is now easy to see 
how the mere progress of the world must in any case 
have brought about changes in the balance of power 
in the Far East, but it is also not difficult to assign a 
date when British supremacy there received its 
death-blow: it was on October 23, 1865, when Lord 
Palmerston expired. It is true he left behind him 
that most experienced foreign secretary. Lord Claren- 
don, who was able to indite despatches which cannot 
even to this day be surpassed for literary finish and 
absolute correctness of doctrine. But the soul had 
departed from the ministry of foreign affairs, as was 
seen within three short years — as soon, in fact, as 
Lord Clarendon was confronted with a test; and, 
with the exception of a very short interval, it has 
remained absent. 

This brings us to another singular phenomenon 


which appeared in Peking toward the end of 1867. 
The representative of the United States, Mr. Anson 
Burhngame, accepted an appointment from the 
Chinese government as special envoy to Western 
countries, having resigned by telegraph his post as 
American minister. He was accompanied by two 
Chinese officials, who were no doubt really the en- 
voys, Mr. Burlingame being the attendant. His 
mission was to persuade the governments of the 
West that China was not in a condition to be pressed, 
that if left entirely to her own devices she would do 
everything that was proper. In particular, he in- 
veighed, with the turgid eloquence of which he was a 
master, against any coercion being resorted to for 
the redress of injuries in the provinces, *'the throat 
policy," as he termed this process. He also made 
extensive promises on behalf of China, with one eye 
directed toward the mercantile and the other 
toward the missionary sentiment of the English- 
speaking nations. ''The Shining Cross," in his 
glowing phraseology, was to be planted on every 
hill and valley throughout China. It so happened, 
however, that while Mr. Burlingame was on tour 
outrages on missionaries and on merchants in widely 
separated portions of China had been adequately and 
effectively redressed after a very slight display of 
force, following, but by a long interval, the vigorous 
action which had proved so salutary in Shanghai two 
decades earlier. Lord Clarendon, apparently with- 
out consulting his own paid and responsible agents in 
China, seemed to accept Mr. Burlingame's inspira- 
tion without a grain of salt, and addressed severe 
reprimands to certain consuls, who, in the opinion 



of all foreign residents in China, had rendered valu- 
able services to humanity while defending the im- 
munities of British subjects. It was the first public 
pronouncement of the death of the Palmerstonian 
tradition, and of the relapse of Great Britain into 
an effeminate, invertebrate, inconsequent policy, 
swayed by every wind from without or within and 
opposed to the judgment of her own experienced 
representatives — the policy which has beyond doubt 
led to the decline of British prestige in Asia. The 
genesis of the Burlingame mission is somewhat 
obscure, its precise object scarcely less so; but its 
putative parents and actual sponsors are believed to 
have deprecated its consequences as having gone far 
beyond what was hoped or intended when it was 

The new departure of the British government in 
1869 was received with consternation by the foreign 
communities in China. Instructions were sent out 
forbidding her Majesty's ships to land their men 
under any circumstances, except to take the British 
residents on shipboard when they were threatened 
with danger. The dismay of the residents was tem- 
pered with mirth provoked by the impracticable 
nature of the new order, which was scarcely less 
absurd than would be one to embark the population 
of Brighton on board a couple of Channel steamers. 
The alarming feature in the case — for there was no 
officer in the British navy who would have carried 
out the instructions — was the ignorance displayed 
by the British government of the actual conditions 
of life in China, ignorance which would have been 
impossible in the lifetime of Lord Palmerston, who 



was never at fault in his appreciation of the common 
facts of the Chinese question. That the same 
inacquaintance with facts has prevailed till now 
there is reason to believe, notwithstanding a suc- 
cession of highly paid representatives in China, with 
an extensive and capable staff of consuls, all possess- 
ing a knowledge of the language. Once our govern- 
ment entered on the course of taking its information 
from every source but the legitimate one, it neces- 
sarily landed itself in a perpetual fog, in which it 
became more and more dependent on such informa- 
tion as might be volunteered from extraneous and 
not always disinterested sources. 

From what has been said it may be inferred that 
diplomatic intercourse in Peking has always been of 
a hide-bound character. There was never any give- 
and-take in it, because such a thing as equality of 
standing could not enter into the conception of the 
Chinese ministers, and they could not in their hearts 
either extend fair treatment to foreigners or expect 
such at their hands. Hence the attitude of the 
Chinese has been mere resistance tempered by fear. 
For some years, indeed, with a few exceptions, until 
the Audience deliberations of 1891, the diplomatic 
body acted together; and had they always done so, 
their will would have been irresistible. But their 
unity could never carry them very far : in the nature 
of things their interests began to differ, and their 
policy still more. Then the Chinese saw their 
opportunity of pitting one Power against the other, 
and of profiting, in their short-sighted manner, by 
the mutual jealousies, not always of the Powers them- 
selves, but of their local representatives. These di- 



visions in the aims and policy of the foreign Powers, 
which began to show themselves as cracks and 
fissures not very perceptible from a distance, have 
now widened into yawning chasms. For many years, 
too, the Chinese ministers were naturally accus- 
tomed to rely, especially in their controversies with 
Great Britain, on the advice and mediation of their 
own paid servant, the Inspector-General of Customs, 
who often succeeded in blunting, if not breaking, 
the weapon leveled against his principals. The 
touchstone of all discussion has been force; and 
the Chinese long remained true to the character 
which the late Lord Elgin gave them, of ''yielding 
nothing to reason but everything to fear." The 
same testimony has been borne by his successors in 
the representation of Great Britain in Peking. 
Accordingly, whenever a question reached the point 
of urgency they would simply ask their referee, 
"Does it mean war?" If the answer was yes, they 
would instantly yield; and if no, they refused to give 
way. Had foreign Powers understood the true state 
of the case — and it was often enough explained to 
them by their agents — their diplomacy might have 
been greatly simplified. The nearest approach to 
a threat of war was when, failing to obtain redress 
for the murder of Margary on the Burmo-Chinese 
frontier, Sir Thomas Wade left Peking. He was 
promptly followed to Chifu by Li Hung Chang, and 
a settlement was come to. It was a settlement 
injurious to the interests of Great Britain, the state 
of affairs in Europe in 1876 operating greatly in 
favor of the Chinese negotiator, for, though the 
British minister was supported by a naval demon- 



stration, his antagonist had private information that 
no coercive action would be taken. It was purely 
a question of force, nevertheless, and but for the 
natural reluctance of Li Hung Chang to return 
empty-handed to Peking, and the desire on both 
sides to put an end to a troublesome controversy, 
no treaty at all might have been concluded at 

The unreasoning resistance of the Chinese was 
never, of course, so absolute but that some impres- 
sion could be made upon it by foreign ministers who 
combined ability with perseverance. There have 
been one or two such personalities among the various 
legations, and some who inspired the Chinese govern- 
ment with confidence. General Vlangali, who repre- 
sented Russia in the seventies, was more than once 
appealed to in after years, when he was in office in 
St. Petersburg, by Li Hung Chang, as man to man, 
and he never uttered an uncertain sound. Herr von 
Brandt, who represented Germany for an unusually 
lengthy period, gained great influence with the 
members of the Tsungli Yamen, and was one of the 
few who were able to cultivate personal relations 
with some of those highest in rank, who visited him 
privately at his residence. It has always been one 
of the obstacles in the way of a good understanding 
that private intercourse was barred by custom and 
etiquette, and that all conversations and negotiations 
had to be carried on with a group, each member 
more concerned to make the approved pose before 
his own jealous colleagues than to clear up the busi- 
ness in hand. Even in returning official calls the 
Chinese ministers were accustomed to hunt in 
14 197 


couples, like sisters of charity collecting subscrip- 
tions ; hence it was an important step to get in touch 
with a single individual, a thing not unknown in the 
provinces, but virtually proscribed in the metropolis. 

It was only by, so to say, capturing a single respon- 
sible minister, and withdrawing him entirely from his 
colleagues, that anything like secrecy could be se- 
cured for any negotiation. Business transacted at 
the Tsungli Yamen might almost as well have been 
conducted in the market-place, and the foreign minis- 
ters who took the trouble were able to inform them- 
selves accurately and promptly of all that passed 
between Chinese and foreign diplomatists. They 
were not all equally well served in this matter, 
mainly because they were not equally liberal in the 
use of means. 

After the Japanese War, which ceased in 1895, 
there was less and less diplomacy, and more and more 
force, applied to the government of China. As was 
said by a Russian official, ' ' It is not a question what 
China will grant, but what foreigners will take" — 
a question of force, and that alone. The progress of 
the Audience question is only another illustration of 
the same thing. Most reluctantly, and by the slowest 
steps, were the doors of the Imperial Palace opened 
to the foreign representatives; points of ceremony 
were yielded with rigid parsimony, beginning with 
the function of 1873; suspended, during the long 
minority of the present Emperor, until 1891; and 
only after the harshest possible treatment by the 
"mailed fist" of Germany were full honors for the 
first time accorded to Prince Henry of Prussia. The 
various treaties, agreements, and conventions of the 



last twenty years are dealt with in other parts of 
this book. After the Boxer rising and the subsequent 
entrance of the allied troops into Peking, the last 
shadow of a pretense that China occupied a different 
position from other Powers was abandoned, and the 
late Empress-Dowager and puppet Emperor gave 
audiences, and received foreigners far more freely. 
The former, indeed, developed a taste for being 

But, although the pliability and amiability of the 
Manchu government filled diplomatists with joy, 
there was no real sign of what is known, in some 
religious circles, as a ''change of heart." The 
Mackay Treaty is an instance of this. Negotiated 
in 1 903 by Sir James Mackay, it provided for a whole 
range of reforms, including the abolition of likin 
and the reform of the currency muddle. No single 
article was ever put into operation or got beyond the 
provisional stage. Concessions of various kinds, 
some already begun, in which large amounts of 
British capital were engaged for works really needed 
in China, were, and still are, hung up on various 
pretexts — blocked by official prevarication. The 
weakest side of British diplomacy in China, and one 
for which the Chinese people have no reason to 
thank us, is the readiness to secure ''concessions" 
and the unreadiness to enforce them. Such a 
diplomacy has helped to demoralize the Manchu 
government, while at the same time enabling them, 
by shifts and evasions, to conceal part of their own 
weakness, and so prolong an enfeebled and mis- 
chievous existence. 



VICTOR COUSIN has said, "Tell me the geog- 
raphy of a country and I will tell you its 
future." For either theoretical or practical pur- 
poses a knowledge of the topography of a country is 
a necessity, and its practical value is at once appar- 
ent whenever an attempt is made at laying down 
a system of communications, either by road or rail, 
or when some serious political question is under 
examination. The physical characteristics are as 
yet but imperfectly understood both in Europe and 
the United States, though the Jesuit surveys, the nar- 
ratives of many recent travelers, and especially the 
masterly studies of Richthofen, have done much to 
make the Western geographer, if not the general 
public, acquainted with the subject. Yet maps of 
China are to this day to be found on which are pro- 
jected systems of railways carried across quite im- 
practicable ground, in ludicrous defiance of moun- 
tain systems and other obstacles. Our political 
geography, too, seems to be quite as much at fault. 

The Chinese Empire comprised till lately: China 
proper — composed of eighteen provinces — Man- 
churia,^ Mongolia, Tibet, eastern Turkestan, and 

1 A viceroyalty with three provinces since 1907. 


It extended over sixty degrees of longitude and 
thirty-five degrees of latitude. The total area was 
some 4,400,000 square miles; and the eighteen 
provinces of China proper, including the islands of 
Hainan and Formosa, constituted about one-third 
of the whole Empire, containing, however, eleven- 
twelfths of the total population and most of the 
wealth of the country, the central Asian dominions 
forming a very serious burden on the Chinese 
exchequer. Not very long ago the country as far 
north as the Yablonoi Mountains belonged to China. 
In 1858 a large slice of territory — namely, the Amur 
province, situated between the Yablonoi Mountains 
on the north and the Amur River on the south — 
passed into Russian hands, followed, in i860, by a 
large and most valuable region, the Maritime or 
Coast province. Since the Chino- Japanese War 
(1895) China has lost Formosa, Korea, and (prac- 
tically) Manchuria, regarding which a good deal has 
to be said later. 

The enormous tracts lying outside China proper, 
still almost terrcB incognitco, are, excepting Manchuria, 
beyond the radius of profitable commercial inter- 
course for Britain. Tibet, if opened up, must be 
approached through India. If not done from that 
quarter, Tibet will be occupied by the Russians, 
crossing the Kirghis highlands, the necessary steps 
having been taken for the purpose. The hill dis- 
tricts of Kokonor, the Gobi Desert, and great por- 
tions of Mongolia are all unsuited for advantageous 
trade relations. These table and high lands are in 
great part hill and desert, poor and sparsely peopled; 
where fertile and moderately inhabited they are too 



distant. But they have a great strategical impor- 
tance. Manchuria is now for all practical purposes 
Russian or Japanese; Mongolia and Turkestan are 
the Tsar's whenever he chooses to stretch out his 
hand for them. Korea will never again be ruled by 
the ''Son of Heaven." 

But we are dealing with the China of to-day, and 
therefore the region which interests us is comprised 
by the eighteen provinces of China proper. These 
are Chihli, Shansi, and Shensi on the north ; Yunnan 
and Kweichau on the southwest; Kwangtung and 
Kwangsi in the south; Kansu and Szechuan on the 
west ; Shantung, Kiangsu, Chekiang, and Fukien on 
the east; and Honan, Anhwei Hupei, Hunan, and 
Kiangsi in the center. China proper, speaking 
roughly, is bounded on the east by the Yellow and 
China seas, reaching from Korea to the Tongking 
Gulf; on the west by Kokonor and Tibet; on the 
south by Tongking and the Shan states; and on the 
north by Mongolia, Russia, and Japan. The prin- 
cipal islands still remaining to China, of the hundreds 
which fringe the coast, are Chusan and Hainan. 

The area of China proper measures about fifteen 
hundred thousand square miles, being about half the 
size of Europe, seven times that of France, and 
seventeen times that of Great Britain. Each of the 
eighteen provinces, therefore, is, on an average, 
almost as large as England. This once realized, the 
reader will have gone far toward understanding the 
Chinese problem. Though not so densely peopled 
as at one time supposed, it is thickly populated. 

In China proper itself, dismissing the more or less 
savage tracts forming a fringe to the west and north, 



there still remains a vast empire of most varied 
character. The chief physical characteristic of 
China is that, in the region north of the Yangtze, it is 
divided (eastward and westward) into two almost 
equal sections, near the iioth degree of longitude, 
representing, roughly, the level and mountainous 
country. South of the Yangtze the interior is shut 
off from the sea, as regards trade purposes, by what 
may be termed a palisade of very broken hills run- 
ning generally parallel to the seaboard. The main 
features of China include high table-lands, broken 
mountainous country, rivers breaking through stu- 
pendous ranges, and the deltas of the Pei ho, the 
Yellow, the Yangtze, and the Si kiang (West) rivers. 
Looking at the map it will be seen that the whole 
country, with the exception of the Great Plain and 
the deltas, is divided into a number of compartments, 
each of these being cased in by impounding hills. 
The gorges, by means of which the drainage is carried 
through these inclosing ranges, especially those on 
the Yangtze, form a marked and imposing feature in 
the character of the hill country. 

A few words are necessary regarding the general 
mountain system of China. Knowing, however, 
that though "geography is good, brevity is better," 
one must be brief. The ranges that penetrate the 
region south of latitude 45° N. may be said to have 
their nucleus in the Pamir plateau, the "Roof of the 
World." From this plateau extend the Tien Shan, 
or Celestial Mountains, separating Mongolia from 
Chinese Turkestan and the Gobi Desert. To the 
south of the Tien Shan the Kuenlun range takes its 
exit, and, proceeding due east, separates Chinese 



Turkestan, the desert of Gobi and Kokonor from 
Tibet, ultimately striking the Yungling Mountains 
near 104° E. At the southeast corner of the Pamirs 
a huge range leaves the plateau, and, joining the 
Kuenlun with a cross-spur, forms the western border 
of the central Tibetan table-land; thence, making 
a great curve, it continues as a barrier round the 
southern and eastern sides of the high plateau, until 
it joins the Kuenlun about 95° E. Under the name 
of the Himalaya it separates that portion of Tibet 
drained by the Sanpo or Bramaputra from India, 
some of its peaks being 30,000 feet in height. East 
of Assam it is broken through by the Bramaputra. 
Continuing in an easterly direction, it throws out a 
huge arm southward, which forms, with its plateau 
and mountain ranges, the primary base of Indo- 
China. This arm is cleft lengthwise by the Sal ween 
and Mekong rivers, and partly in its length and in 
part transversely by the Yangtze and its branches. 
The Irrawaddy rises in its western armpit; the 
Si kiang (West River) and the Song koi (Red River) 
in its eastern one. The main range then continues 
in a north-northeast direction, and, under the name 
of the Yungling, impinges on the Bayan Kara, 
which springs in 95° E., 35° N. from the eastern 
flank of the hill barrier that incloses the central 
Tibetan table-land. Running nearly due east, and 
known on most European maps (but only there, as 
Richthofen has shown, for "ling" is applied in 
China only to a mountain-pass) as the Pehling and 
Tsingling ranges, it forms the water parting be- 
tween the Yangtze and Yellow River systems. The 
mountainous belt of the southeastern provinces 

2 04 


forms the northern watershed of the Canton River, 
and is the divide between it and the Yangtze system. 
All the ranges which penetrate China proper, with 
the exception of the mountains of Shantung, which 
jutt out south of the Gulf of Pechili, are connected 
with the western Tibetan system. The heights of 
the western China highlands vary from 3,000 feet to 
15,000 feet.^ 

The chief rivers of China, from south to north, are : 
The Si kiang (or West River) and its tributaries ; the 
Ta kiang (Yangtze)^ and its affluents; the Hoang 
ho, or Yellow River, called "China's sorrow"; and 
the Pei ho. The Min River in Fukien and the 
Tsien Tang in Chekiang may also be mentioned, but 
they are of quite minor importance. 

Regarding the rivers of western China draining 
southward, such as the Sal ween and the Mekong or 
Cambodia, little need be said here. They are mighty 
in dimension, but quite unnavigable, and therefore 
do not come within the present discussion. Of the 
Chinese rivers the Yangtze, one of the great rivers of 
the world, is indisputably the most important, being 
the main artery, indeed the only real channel for 
trade, between eastern and western China. It has a 
navigable length of perhaps fourteen hundred miles, 

1 These may be roughly given as follows: The Pamir plateau, 
15,000 feet; Tibet, 15,000 feet; Kokonor, 10,500 feet; The Mon- 
golian plain, 4,000 feet; the Shansi table-land, 3,000 feet to 6,000 
feet; Yunnan, 5,000 feet to 7,000 feet. 

2 The Yangtze kiang, usually called by the Chinese the Ta kiang 
(great river) or Kiang (river), is the "Quian" of Marco Polo. Like 
other rivers in China, it bears different names in different parts of 
its course, the name Yangtze being properly applied only to its 
lower reaches. 



of which the six hundred miles between Shanghai and 
Hankau are now traversed by large sea-going and river 
steamers, while Ichang, some three hundred and sixty 
miles beyond, is regularly reached by light-draught 
vessels, and Chungking, another four hundred and 
fifty miles farther on, has been proved to come 
within the navigation limit. Indeed, the chief 
obstacles lie between Ichang and the Szechuan 
frontier, a distance of about one hundred miles; 
beyond that being plain sailing, not only as far as 
Chungking, but even to near Sui fu, some two hun- 
dred miles farther west. Of the Yangtze something 
more will be said hereafter. 

The Hoang ho, the river of northern China, which 
has so often, and with such terrible results, shifted its 
mouth (since 600 B.C., nine times), may be said to be 
nearly unnavigable. The amount of silt brought 
down by it is encroaching on the sea at the rate of 
one hundred feet annually. The basin of the Pei ho 
is formed by a number of streams, flowing mostly in 
independent channels to within a short distance of 
the coast, where they converge toward the treaty 
port of Tientsin. For purposes of navigation it is 
only practicable for light-draught boats. Surveys 
and travels have enabled us to estimate the value of 
the Si kiang (explored and mapped by the author in 
1882), which traverses the entire provinces of 
Kwangsi and Kwangtung and part of Yunnan. In- 
formation regarding this waterway may be found 
elsewhere; but, briefl}^ the river can be ascended 
some three hundred and fifty miles by light-draught 
steamers, more than half the distance from Canton to 
the navigation limit. On the upper portion junks can 



travel two hundred and fifty miles to the borders of 
Yunnan. The importance of this river to China and 
the advisability of opening it effectively are self- 

The peculiarities of Chinese nomenclature are re- 
markable. No river or chain of mountains has the 
same denomination throughout its length; no town 
even keeps its primitive name from one dynasty to 
another. "There is no national term to designate 
China itself, or its inhabitants," says Reclus; ''every 
one of the names in common use at different periods 
has kept its former meaning and can be replaced by 
synonyms ; not one has yet been transformed by use 
into a purely geographical appellation. It is the same 
with the names of mountains, rivers, provinces, and 
towns; these names are only epithets — descriptive, 
historical, military, or poetical — changing with each 
regime and replaced at will by other epithets." 

The population of China has long been a subject of 
controversy, and seems no nearer solution to-day 
than it ever was. In recent times the earlier assumed 
figure of about 400,000,000 (in 1906 the Imperial 
Maritime Customs estimate was 407,000,000) was 
reduced by Mr. Rockhill, American minister at 
Peking and a Chinese sinologue, to as low as 270,- 
000,000, and the latest Chinese estimate gives 
331,000,000/ On the other hand, however, the 
Chinese Imperial Customs gives the total popula- 
tion (1909) as 439,000,000. 

The amount of population at first sight seems a 

1 The Minchang pu (Ministry of Interior) census, 19 10, is taken, 
but the figures are quite unreliable. 



large one, but the extent of population is not exces- 
sive, and, it must be noted, its distribution is most 
remarkable. The pressure upon the eastern sea- 
board and on the great waterways, where they open 
out into valleys and deltas, is marked. Away from 
these the population diminishes rapidly. The most 
densely peopled province — namely. Shantung — has 
as many, it is believed, as 528 per square mile, the 
average being 216. The most thinly populated 
provinces are those of Manchuria, Kwangsi, Kansu, 
and Yunnan. The latter, which before the Moham- 
medan rebellion counted some 16,000,000 inhabitants, 
has now only some 8,500,000, although the province 
has had a revival of its former prosperity. The 
eastern part of Szechuan is very populous; but the 
west, abutting on Tibet, is mountainous and poorly 
peopled. The density of the population will be 
found to be in some degree an index — but by no 
means an unfailing one, owing to the defective com- 
munications — to the agricultural capabilities of the 
country. No estimate of the area available for 
cultivation can be made, even approximately, at 

The metropolitan province of Chihli, with an area 
of about 115,000 square miles and an estimated 
population of 32,000,000, is the most northern por- 
tion of the Great (delta) Plain, with the exception of 
the ranges defining its northern and western fron- 
tiers. On the east it is bordered by the Gulf of 
Pechili and Shantung, on the south by Shantung and 
Honan, on the west by Shansi, and on the north by 
Inner Mongolia and Liaotung. This province con- 
tains the present capital, Peking, and the chief 



northern treaty port, Tientsin, situated on the 
Pei ho. 

The province of Shansi — the original seat of the 
Chinese people — ^is bounded on the north by Mon- 
golia, on the east by Chihli, on the south by Honan, 
and on the west by Shensi. It occupies an area of 
81,000 square miles, and contains besides its capital, 
Taiyuen fu, eight prefectural cities. The population 
is returned as being 11,000,000. The configuration 
of Shansi is noteworthy, its southern portion, in- 
cluding the region down to the Yellow River — in all 
an area roughly estimated at about 30,000 square 
miles — forming a plateau elevated several thousand 
feet above the level of the sea, the whole being one 
vast coal-field. In agricultural products the prov- 
ince is poor and, the means of transport being so 
inefficient, is liable to famine. 

The province of Shensi is bounded on the north by 
the Great Wall, on the west by the province of Kansu, 
on the south by the province of Szechuan, and on the 
east by Shansi, from which it is separated by the 
Yellow River. It contains an area of some 75,000 
square miles, and its population, said to number 
upward of 10,000,000, before the outbreak of the 
Mohammedan rebellion of 1860-75, is said to be 
8,800,000. Its capital, Sian, is next to Peking in 
importance and enjoys the distinction of having 
been the capital of the Empire for a longer period 
than any other city. The Wei basin,^ in Shensi, is 

1 The cause of the vitality of the Wei basin, remarks Richthofen, 
is that "Singan fu (Sian) occupies a dominant position, such as few 
inland cities enjoy that are not built at the places of confluence of 
navigable rivers. It is situated at the confluence of those few roads 



the greatest agricultural region of the northwest, and 
on this account, as well as its geographical position, 
has played a prominent part in the history of China, 
especially in its early epochs. It is well termed by 
Col. Mark Bell the center of gravity and resistance 
of mid-China. Cut off from the rest of China by the 
Yellow River and its bordering mountainous region 
to the eastward, and the Tsingling shan range to the 
southward, the Taiping rebellion never was able to 
cross from the south into northern Shensi, nor did the 
Mohammedan rebellion of Kansu and Shensi ever 
spread southward. As regards products and com- 
mercial intercourse, the two districts have also been 
widely divided. The political importance of the 
region to China is evident, and railway connection 
with the eastern provinces is a necessity, for it re- 
quires no special insight to see that China is espe- 
cially open to attack by the very road from central 
Asia which she herself in the past always followed in 
her invasions. 

The province of Yunnan lies in the extreme south- 
west of the Empire, its southern and western bor- 
ders forming the northern frontiers of Tongking and 

of traffic which are the only possible connections for mediating the 
intercourse between the Wei basin and the eastern and nothern 
provinces, and occupy, therefore, in some measure, the place of 
rivers." The antiquarian finds nowhere in China, says the same 
authority, such opportunity for collecting objects of interest as on 
the classical soil of the Wei basin. At a comparatively recent 
epoch of Chinese history, during the Tang dynasty, arts and sciences 
flourished at the Court of Chang-ngan, the present Sian fu. Of 
this celebrated line of princes. Dr. Wells Williams says: "During 
the 287 years they held the throne, China was probably the 
most civilized country on earth, and the darkest days of the West 
formed the brightest era of the East." 



Burma respectively. On the north it is bordered by 
Szechuan and on the east by Kweichau and Kwangsi. 
It is the third largest province of the Empire, its area 
measuring 146,000 square miles; but, as already re- 
marked, owing to the devastations of the Moham- 
medan rebellion and ensuing plague, its population 
was greatly reduced. Yet its mineral wealth is 
greater and more varied than that of most of the 
provinces. Its capital is Yunnan, between which 
town and Burma, Tongking, Canton, and the upper 
Yangtze a considerable trade was once carried on. 

The other southwest province, Kweichau, is the 
poorest of the eighteen in agricultural products, but 
in minerals it is nearly as rich as Yunnan. The popu- 
lation is given as 11,300,000, and the area some 
67,000 square miles. The means of communica- 
tion, however, are so defective that its resources have 
hitherto been almost undeveloped. 

The province of Kwangtung lies between Kiangsi 
and Hunan on the north, Fukien on the northeast, 
Kwangsi on the west, and the ocean on the south. 
Its area is over 100,000 square miles, with a popula- 
tion estimated at over 27,700,000. The capital is 
Canton, on the Pearl River, the largest town in China 
and the one best known to Westerners, as it was long 
the only place to which foreigners were allowed ac- 
cess, and is easily visited by the itinerant traveler 
from Hongkong. The natural facilities of the prov- 
ince for internal navigation and an extensive coasting 
trade are considerable, its long littoral affording many 
harbors, and its waterways, radiating into the dis- 
tricts west and north, even beyond the provincial 



The province of Kwangsi extends westward of 
Kwangtung to the border of Tongking, and has an 
area of over 77,000 square miles and a population of 
6,500,000. Both Kwangsi and Kwangtung are fairly 
well watered by the West River and its tributaries, 
and intercourse is easy. Wuchau and Nanning, on 
the main river, are the largest trading towns in the 

The province of Kansu projects like a wedge into 
the Tibetan plateau, and is second in area of the 
eighteen provinces, measuring 125,000 square miles, 
with a reported population of 5,000,000. Its im- 
portance politically is considerable, commanding as 
it does the highway between central Asia and China 

The largest of the eighteen provinces, Szechuan 
(referred to elsewhere), is one of the richest and in 
parts most populous. It is bounded on the north by 
Kansu and Shensi, on the east by Hupei and Hunan, 
on the south by Kweichau and Yunnan, and on the 
west by Tibet and Kokonor. Its area is estimated 
at 218,000 square miles, and its population at 

The province of Shantung, concerning which some- 
thing is said elsewhere, is bounded on the east by the 
Yellow Sea, on the south by Kiangsu and the Yellow 
Sea, on the west by the province of Chihli, and on 
the north by Chihli and its gulf. A population vari- 
ously estimated, but officially numbering as many as 
29,600,000, is found within its area of 55,000 square 
miles. Possessed of enormous mineral wealth, Shan- 

1 Estimated in 1904 by Sir A. Hosie at 45,000,000, and by the 
Customs Department in 191 o at over 78,000,000! 



tiing is also a great agricultural province, as is proved 
by the revenue from the land tax, the largest de- 
rived from any of the eighteen provinces. 

South of Shantung lies the province of Kiangsu, 
between the ocean on the east and Anhwei on the 
west, with Chekiang to the south. Its area com- 
prises 38,000 square miles, with a reported popula- 
tion of 1 7 ,000,000. A great portion of the province is 
covered with lakes and marshes, but it is generally 
very fertile. Among its many fine cities are Shang- 
hai, Nangking (twice the capital^), and Suchau. 
Suchau is situated close to the Tahu Lake, whence 
streams and canals place the city in communication 
with various parts of the province, especially with 
Shanghai; and the road between the two cities is a 
continuous line of towns and villages. In 1859 
Suchau was a city which for industry and wealth 
was not to be matched in China, and had then a 
population estimated at over i ,000,000. Suchau and 
Hangchau (in Chekiang) represented to the Chinese 
the terrestrial paradise. ''To be happy on earth," 
said they, "one must be born in Suchau, live in 
Canton, and die in Hangchau." 

Following the coast-line southward, the next prov- 
ince is Chekiang, bordered by Anhwei and Kiangsi on 
the west and Fukien on the south. It is the smallest 
of the eighteen provinces, being only 36,000 square 
miles in extent, but its population is given as 17,000,- 
000. Chekiang is renowned for its fertility, its forest 
and fruit trees, its populous towns, and its salubrious 
climate. Hangchau, the capital, one of the finest 

*From A. D. 317 to 582 Nanking was the metropolis of China, and 
once again during the Ming dynasty, from 1368 to 1403. 
15 213 


towns in the Empire, is described by Marco Polo, who 
visited it in 1286, as ''beyond dispute the noblest in 
the world." 

The next province bordering on the ocean is Fu- 
kien, with Kiangsi on the west and Kiangtung on the 
south. Formosa lies opposite Fukien, and formed 
part of that province until it passed into the hands of 
Japan. In many parts highly cultivated, the country 
is generally densely peopled, having a population of 
13,000,000 in an area of 46,000 square miles. Among 
its numerous large cities are the treaty ports of 
Fuchau and Amoy. 

The province of Honan, with its fertile sections of 
the Great Plain, supports a population of 25,000,000 
on an area of 68,000 square miles. On its north lie 
Shansi and Chihli, on the east Anhwei, on the south 
Hupeh, and Shensi on the west. The northern part 
of Honan, next the Yellow River, is level, fertile, and 
well peopled. Kaifung, the capital, lying close to 
the southern bank of that river, was the metropolis 
from A.D. 780 to 1 129. 

The province of Anhwei is situated in the central 
and southern parts of the Great Plain, between 
Honan and Hupeh on the west, and Kiangsi and 
Chekiang on the east and north, with Kiangsi in the 
south. The area is 54,000 square miles, and its 
estimated population over 17,000,000. The coun- 
try is generally similar to Kiangsu, but has fewer 

The central provinces of Hupeh and Hunan were 
formerly one province. Hupeh is the more populous 
and fertile, but the smaller of the two, its area being 
some 71,000 square miles against 83,000 for Hunan, 



the estimated populations being 25,000,000 and 23,- 
000,000. The Yangtze flows through Hupeh, carry- 
ing an immense amoimt of silt into the side valleys. 
The southeastern portion of the province is con- 
sidered the most fertile portion of China. The 
provincial capital, Wuchang, lies on the southern 
side of the Yangtze, Hankau and Hangyang being 
on the opposite bank, and divided by its tributary, 
the Han, the admirable position of Hankau, situated 
as it is on the central portion of the Yangtze, has 
been dealt on by all travelers in China; the city 
seems destined by nature to become the port of 
eastern central Asia. The rich province of Hunan, 
the population of which was terribly reduced by the 
Taiping rebellion, is drained by four rivers, the 
Siang and Yuan being both navigable for some two 
himdred miles, except at low season, whose basins 
occupy almost the entire province. The people 
have a reputation for roughness and turbulence. 

The province of Kiangsi, south of Anhwei and 
Hupeh, is bounded by Hunan on the west, Kwang- 
tung on the south, and Fukien on the east. Its area 
is 69,000 square miles, the population reported 
14,500,000. The country is hilly and well watered, 
much of it being marsh-land. Its soil is generally 
productive, and the inhabitants, like those of the 
coast provinces, engage to a considerable extent in 

Of the islands belonging to China two may be 
briefly mentioned. Hainan (situated on the Gulf of 
Tongking) is about one hundred and fifty miles long 
by one hundred broad. The interior of the island 
is mountainous and well wooded. The inhabitants, 



said to be racially the same as the mountaineers of 
Kv/eichau, have only partially submitted to the 
Chinese. Kiungchau fu, the prefectural town, lies 
at the mouth of the Himu River; but the port is 
Hoihau, where the entrance is so shallow that trade 
actually centers at Pakhoi, the nearest treaty port on 
the mainland. 

Chusan is of particular interest to England, having 
been occupied several times by a British force. It 
was captured first in 1840 and again in 1842, being 
held till 1846 as a guarantee for the fulfilment of 
the treaty with China until the full payment of the 
indemnity had been made by the Chinese govern- 
ment according to the provisions of the treaty of 
Nanking. It was again occupied in the war of i860. 
The length of the island, which was incorporated with 
China in the seventh century, is twenty miles and 
its greatest breadth six miles. Tinghai, the capital, 
is situated half a mile from the shore; the harbor is 
well land-locked, the water varying from four to 
eight fathoms. 

Of the two chief features of northern China — the 
mountainous region and the Great Plain — the latter 
is economically far the more important and is the 
richest part of China. Politically it is of great con- 
sequence, affording an easy means of advance from 
the north. The plain extends some seven hundred 
miles from the Great Wall and mountain ranges 
north of Peking to the junction of the Poyang Lake 
with the Yangtze River. Of varying breadth, it 
has an average of two hundred miles in its northern 
part (next Shantung and Shansi) ; farther south it is 
about three hundred miles broad; and next to the 



Yangtze basin it is as much as four hundred miles in 
width, stretching from the seaboard inland. The 
northern section of the plain is partly a deposit of 
loess, being alluvial elsewhere, and the region of 
Kiangsu is low and liable to inundation, with frequent 
lakes, the whole covered with a network of water- 
courses. The population supported on this plain is 
very great, among the most densely populated sec- 
tions of the whole world's surface. 

Before leaving the subject of the physical aspect, 
the loess formation peculiar to the northern prov- 
inces must be mentioned. Loess is a solid but friable 
earth of brownish-yellow color, differing from loam in 
having a highly porous and tubular structure. It is 
found in most of the northern provinces, disappear- 
ing gradually toward the lower Yangtze, though 
remnants are found in the lakes south of that river. 
No trace of it is found in Szechuan. How far it 
extends into central Asia is as yet unknown. With 
the loess (called hwang-tu by the Chinese) are bound 
up the distinguishing features of interior China, not 
merely in regard to scenery, but agricultural prod- 
ucts, dwelling, and means of transport. The loess 
spreads over high and low ground alike, smoothing 
the irregularities and having often a thickness of 
as much as one thousand feet. Its peculiar feature 
is its vertical cleavage and sudden crevices, which are 
narrow, of vast depth, and greatly ramified. No 
scenery presents smoother, gentler, and more monot- 
onous outlines than a loess basin if overlooked from 
some high point of view. Should the traced roads 
be left, however, it is impassable even on foot, and 
the strayed traveler finds himself in a labyrinth of 



vertical walls, irretrievably lost. It is probably one 
of the most difficult countries in the world for either 
military or engineering purposes. In the loess re- 
gion the people dwell mainly in caves. Agricul- 
ture in modern China is, in fact, confined to the 
alluvial plains and the loess, in southern China to the 
alluvial plains and the terraced hillsides. Richthofen 
has given to the north and south the names of Loess 
and non-Loess China — no mere pedantic terms, for 
they accurately describe the two regions. It is a note- 
worthy fact that, excepting in the loess regions, the 
Chinese are able to cultivate only a certain portion 
of the soil, bearing a direct ratio to the quantity of 
human manure they are able to supply and therefore 
to the density of population. 

As might be expected from the varied character of 
the country, comprising wild mountainous tracts, 
table-lands, the loess and non-loess regions, and allu- 
vial plains, the products vary greatly, as do the 
people and their language. From north to south and 
from east to west the races, now for the most part 
welded into one people, are distinguishable. To this 
day, although there is one language common to the 
Empire (with three varieties) , spoken by perhaps two- 
thirds of the people, still the number of patois is 
great, and in the south the aboriginal tribes retain 
their languages. 

The ancient Chinese, who introduced civilization 
and subdued the aboriginal tribes, entered China 
from the northwest, following the course of the 
Hoang ho. The valley of the Yangtze and the whole 
region to the south continued up to the Christian 
era to be the abode of savage tribes, which were 



gradually — and, indeed, only partially — absorbed 
and assimilated. The aborigines, who were driven 
south as the Chinese moved forward, are still found 
on the islands of Formosa and Hainan, and on the 
mainland in Kweichau, Szechuan, Yunnan, Kwang- 
tung, and Kwangsi, some millions in number. They 
are divided by the Chinese into a multitude of tribes, 
but the chief races are the Lolo, the Miao, the Pai 
(Shan), the Ikias, the Hakkas, and the Hoklos. 
The Shans are not met northeast of Yunnan fu, but 
are found at the lower levels all along the south 
Yunnan border, and from Kwangnan fu to the border 
of Kweichau they form almost the whole population. 
They must have been masters of Kwangsi before the 
Chinese. It appears likely that the Shans mainly 
reached Kwangsi across the Yunnan plateau; those 
in southern Kweichau, however, are undoubtedly 
immigrants from Kwangsi, and did not cross Yunnan. 

The climate presents many varieties of the tem- 
perate and even of the frigid and torrid zones. The 
northern provinces have winters like those of Siberia, 
while the heat of Canton is equal to that of Hindo- 
stan. Between these two extremes is found every 
variation of temperature and climate. During the 
months of December, January, and February, the 
rivers debouching in the Gulf of Pechili are frozen, 
and even the gulf itself is fringed with a broad border 
of ice. The plain-dwellers of China consider the 
highland provinces — especially the three south- 
western ones — to be extremely unhealthy, a reputa- 
tion partly due to prejudice, which probably arose 
from these provinces being remote regions, whither 
criminals and political offenders were transported. 



The highlanders, on their part, look upon the plains 
as far from healthy. The central regions are, per- 
haps, the healthiest — not so subject to cold as the 
northern and western districts, nor so liable to 
changes as along the seaboard. 

It will be apparent, then, that some knowledge of 
the physical features of China is of importance. The 
chief points to be noted are the extent of the Great 
Plain, its fertility, its extent of population; the rich- 
ness of the Yangtze basin, with its far-reaching sys- 
tem of waterways, and its value as the great artery 
of China; and, finally, the mountainous region, 
Tibet, and its buttresses, forming western and south- 
western China, which form the natural barrier, the 
line of defense, for the northeastern frontier of India, 
much as Afganistan does for its northwestern fron- 
tier. Variety and contrast are the salient features of 
the physical characteristics of China. 



THE slumbering factors of an immense industrial 
production all exist in China, says Richthofen. 
The chief elements of an industrial country — coal and 
iron — exist to an extent unparalleled elsewhere in the 
world, while the vast supply of labor, whether re- 
garded from the point of view of numbers, personal 
efficiency, or power of endurance, is unsurpassed. 
Among the various races of mankind the Chinese 
is the only one which in all climates, the hottest and 
the coldest, is capable of great and lasting activity. 
The Chinaman fulfils in the highest degree the ideal 
of an intelligent human machine. It is evident that 
in many important industries use will be increasingly 
made of this latent activity, and that the seat of many 
industries will be established by the Chinese them- 
selves or transplanted from abroad to Chinese soil. 
It is very doubtful whether the people themselves 
lack initiative, as is so commonly maintained, but 
if that be the case foreign capital will utilize the 
opportunity for flooding the markets of the world 
with the products of cheap Chinese labor. ^ 

^ "It is not difficult to guess what they will do when foreign 
importations cause them serious anxiety," says M. Simon. "They 
will erect looms, mills, and steam machinery of all kinds ... if need- 



China may be divided into three zones, of which 
the temperature and products are very different. 
The northern zone comprises the country lying to the 
north of the Yellow River. The climate here is much 
too severe for tea or rice, and the land is mostly sown 
with millet and barley. The central zone (stretching 
from the Yellow River southward to the twenty- 
sixth degree of latitude) has much milder winters 
than the northern, and rice and wheat thrive well 
there. It possesses, too, the better kinds of tea, the 
mulberry, the cotton- tree, the jujube, the orange- 
tree, the sugar-cane, and the bamboo, which has been 
applied by the Chinese to a great variety of pur- 
poses. The eastern part of this favored zone is 
celebrated for its manufactures of silk and cotton; 
the middle is the granary of China, and might feed 
the whole country from its enormous harvests of 
rice ; the west alone abounds in valuable timber, the 
rest of the country having been denuded of its 
forests. The southern zone, bordered by the sea, 
has much the same natural productions, though not 
generally of as good a quality, as the temperature is 
much higher. 

Numerous mineral and metalliferous deposits are 
distributed throughout all zones : coal and iron in the 
north, south, and center; gold and silver in the 
provinces of the north, south, and west ; and copper, 
tin, mercury, and lead in many parts. Coal, iron, 

ful obtain European assistance and dispense with European prod- 
ucts. It is to be hoped that they will stop there, because the day 
that they take a fancy to engage in Western industry will mark a 
disastrous day for Europe. Free from taxes, with cheap and abun- 
dant labor, it will be impossible to compete with them," 



copper, and tin are the chief minerals. The vast 
mineral wealth of the country is still for the most 
part locked up, and cannot be developed until 
communications have been more fully devel- 

The population of China, pre-eminently agricul- 
tural — ^the vast majority of its people being culti- 
vators of the soil — is only dense along and close to 
the seaboard and the main waterways of the in- 
terior. Away from these it becomes sparser, and 
trade does not penetrate because communications 
have been, as noted already, almost entirely wanting, 
thus taking away all incentive from the people to 
produce beyond their immediate wants. It should 
be borne in mind, in dealing with China, that paucity 
of population is a very imperfect index to the po- 
tentialities of any district which is not in communi- 
cation with the main trade arteries. Scantiness of 
population does not imply absence of mineral and 
other latent wealth, and affords a poor test of the 
character of the soil. 

The use of coal in the household and the arts has 
been carried to some perfection.^ Anthracite is 
powdered and mixed with wet clay, earth, sawdust, 
or dung, according to the exigencies of the case, in the 
proportion of about seven to one, the balls thus made 
being dried in the sun. The brick-beds (kang) are 

^ Marco Polo notices its use: "It is a fact," says the Venetian, 
"that all over the country of Cathay there is a kind of black stone 
existing in beds in the mountains, which they dig out and burn like 
firewood. It is true they have plenty of wood also, but they do not 
burn it, because those stones burn better and cost less." (Yule's 
Marco Polo, vol. i, p. 395.) 



effective means of warming the house, and the hand 
furnaces, aided by a Kttle charcoal, enable the poor to 
cook with these balls at a trifling expense. Owing to 
the extremely defective means of communication, 
however, only those who live in close vicinity to coal- 
mines can derive benefit from them ; while to others 
who live at a day's walk from the mine coal is a luxury 
for which a poor people like the Chinese could not 
afford to pay. The manner in which defective means 
of transport operates may be illustrated by an ex- 
ample : Coal, which cost in Shansi thirteen cents per 
ton at the mine, not many years ago, rose to four 
taels at a distance of thirty miles, and to seven taels 
at sixty miles. Thus the price increased one tael 
per ton in every ten miles. 

Coal is destined to play an important part in the 
future of China, and indeed in that of the whole Far 
East. The largest coal-measures are found in Shansi 
and Honan, while there are coal-fields of great value in 
Manchuria, Chihli, Shantung, Hupeh, and Szechuan. 
Other provinces throughout the country have de- 
posits of varying value. The deplorable condition 
into which communications and transport facilities 
had fallen has, until the recent development of rail- 
ways (with branches to the mines in certain sections 
of the country) by foreign capital and enterprise, 
greatly retarded the development of mining, which is 
even now in its infancy in China. Mines have long 
been worked by the natives in a primitive way in 
Hunan province, where there are two fields — one in 
the basin of the Lei River, yielding anthracite, and 
the other next the Siang with bituminous coal. 
Communication with Hankau by water is thus se- 



cured. Lines to serve the local coal-mines have been 
constructed here as in other provinces. 

Shansi is one of the most remarkable coal and iron 
regions in the world. At the present rate of con- 
sumption the world could be supplied with coal for 
thousands of years from Shansi alone, according to 
Richthofen. And speaking of Professor Dana's com- 
parison of the proportions in various countries of 
coal-land to the total area (the State of Pennsylvania 
being given as leading the world, with its 43,960 
square miles embracing 20,000 of coal-land), the dis- 
tinguished geologist says the province of Shansi will 
take the palm from Pennsylvania. Nor is its extent 
the only advantage possessed by the Chinese coal- 
field, the ease and cheapness with which coal can be 
extracted being a remarkable feature. This region, 
however, has labored under the disadvantage of 
being situated at a distance from the coast and 
navigable rivers, while the coal formation lies a few 
thousand feet above the adjoining plain, difficulties 
which have been partly overcome by the construc- 
tion of the Taiyuan fu railway. 

Shansi has the greatest coal-field of China, the 
seams (from twenty feet to thirty-six feet in thick- 
ness) resting on a substructure of limestone and the 
stratification being horizontal. The limestone-bed 
being some two thousand feet above the plain, the 
coal crops out, and mining is carried on by means of 
adits without any difficulty. A curious circum- 
stance in connection with the Shansi coal-field is that 
it is divided into two — anthracite and bituminous — 
by a mountain range of granite formation, of an 
earlier date than the limestone and coal formations. 



The Peking Syndicate retroceded its mining rights in 
Shansi to the Chinese government four years ago, and 
is now working coal only in Honan, permission to 
work iron having been obtained. The first coal- 
field opened in China was in the east of the Chihli 
province, at Kaiping, which is connected by rail with 
the seaport of Taku, at the mouth of the Pei ho, and 
with Chinwang tao farther north. The coal ob- 
tained there is a soft bituminous variety with a con- 
siderable admixture of dust. 

Iron ore of varying quality is found in many parts, 
the principal region as yet worked being at Ta-yeh 
(in Hupeh), and at Tsze-chau and Ping-ting (in 
Shansi), which supply nearly the whole of north 
China with the iron required for agricultural and do- 
mestic purposes. Iron ores, worked by the natives 
for local consumption, on a very small scale, are 
found in Szechuan, and also in Hunan, Fukien, 
Chekiang, and Shantung. Finally, iron (in con- 
junction with the great coal supplies found there) 
is worked in Manchuria, but this can hardly now be 
counted an asset of China. 

Regarding the basin of Taiyuan fu, Richthofen says 
that coal is abundant everywhere, and in most places 
worth little more than the cost of transportation. 
All the coal in the vicinity is of extremely good 
quality. The beds are numerous, those worked being 
generally from three to five feet thick, but in some 
instances eight and even ten feet. Owing to their 
horizontal position, the outcroppings being exposed 
to view on the hillside, mining is extraordinarily easy. 
Most of the coal-seams, too, are overlain by hard 
sandstone, forming a solid roof in the mines, which 



only needs to be supported by coal-pillars, thus re- 
ducing the expense of timbering to a minimum. 

At another coal-field, Pingting chau, according 
to the same authority, the mines constitute a narrow 
and crooked belt, following the line along which the 
coal-measures crop out. Here the coal-bearing 
strata extend to the west, southwest, and north, 
practically through almost the whole of southern 
Shansi. Adits, miles in length, could be driven with- 
in the body of the coal, underneath great thicknesses 
of superincumbent strata. It is probable that all, 
or nearly all, the anthracite beds here would be 
worth development. Mining, therefore, seems ca- 
pable of an almost unlimited extension. With rail- 
roads built from the plain to this district, and 
branches carried through the body of these beds of 
anthracite (among the thickest and most valuable 
in the world), the output of the coal-beds can be 
loaded direct on railroad cars and railed to distant 
places. In northern Shensi, also rich in coal, the 
difficulties of transportation place it beyond the 
reach of any but the adjacent places. The coal 
formation in the bottom of ravines cut through the 
cover of loess is so similar to that of Shansi as, in 
Richthofen's opinion, to make it probable that the 
table-lands of coal extend over the greater portion 
of northern Shensi. 

The same methods witnessed by Richthofen for 
extracting the metals at Tszechau (in Shansi) were 
probably applied several thousand years ago. They 
bear the character of nearly all Chinese industry, 
being primitive and imperfect and yet producing 
good results. The trains of mules and men en- 



countered on the road, laden with ironware of the 
most varied description, prepare the traveler to see 
the metal manufactured on a large scale. It is 
surprising, on arrival at the spot, to see hundreds of 
small establishments, between which the labor is 
divided, each manufacturing a certain set of articles 
for which a reputation has been gained. It is evi- 
dent that the success which the local manufacturers 
attain, by application of the rudest methods, must be 
due in great measure to the superiority of the ma- 
terial they employ. They have, in fact, an abun- 
dance of every kind of material they require — iron ores 
of great purity (rich in metal and easily fusible), all 
sorts of clay and sand (such as are required for cru- 
cibles and molds), and anthracite of a superior 

In Shantung coal-fields have been developed on a 
considerable scale by Germany, which are well served 
by the railways she is building into the interior. 
There are several fields of considerable but unequal 
value, the chief being those at Wei-hsien and Poshan. 
The importance of these coal-fields to Germany, for 
the working of the network of railways she has in 
hand and for naval supplies, is self-evident. 

Copper is found chiefly in Kweichau and Yunnan, 
across which there is a valuable hill of copper-bearing 
ore, extending into the south of Szechuan. The out- 
put of the mines is known to be considerable ; but they 
are a government monopoly, and no information is 
available. Copper is also worked near Kiukiang, on 
the Yangtze. Tin is mined in Yunnan, in the 
Mengtze district, connected since 1909 with Hanoi 
(the capital of Tongking), and also in Hainan. 



Antimony ore is found in Hunan, and quicksilver 
in Kweichau. Notwithstanding her vast mineral 
wealth, China has as yet a small surplus of minerals 
for export. A few years ago her export of coal was 
only one per cent, of the amount imported and of 
iron ore less than one-sixth. 

Salt, which forms so important an item in the 
revenue, is obtained chiefly by coast evaporation and 
then from brine- wells in Szechuan. ^JDi^—salL-in- 
du stry eviden ces Chinese ingenuit yjn a str iking way. 
T he sale~or~sait is a govefrTmeint monopo ly, the 
revenue raised by the central government until re- 
cently being about thirteen million taels.^ The 
United States consul-general at Shanghai, in 1897, 
gave an interesting account, which embodied the 
information collected by Baber, Richthofen, and 
other travelers: 

The ingenuity which, seventeen hundred years ago, 
bored through solid rock to the depth of from two to five 
thousand feet attests scientific skill that may still interest. 
The salt- wells of China are found in Szechuan, Yunnan, and 
Shansi; but the more important are in the province of 
Szechuan, about one hundred and seventy-five miles west 
of Chimgking and an equal distance southeast of Chengtu. 
The salt-belt is a triangular tract, having the Min River 
(from Ching-ting fu to its junction with the Yangtze at 
Sm-fu) for its base, and its apex near Tzeliutsing, an area 
of some fifteen hundred miles. The number of wells in 
this region, officially reported, is twelve himdred, but the 
number is by some estimated as high as five thousand. 

^ This item, like all other sources of revenue, is largely increased 
in the Imperial Budget for the year 191 1 (see Appendix III). 
16 229 


Tea, which was once the chief item in the trade 
of China, is still an important element in the foreign 
trade, although relatively diminishing on account of 
the competition from India and Ceylon. Fifty years 
ago the United Kingdom received all its tea from 
China; now it gets little over one-twentieth. Its 
use in China is not so universal as imagined; in the 
north and west the people use preparations in which 
tea forms a small proportion, or else drink hot water. 
The ''brick tea" for the Siberian, Mongolian, and 
Tibetan markets — where it is used, not as a beverage, 
but as a soup — is principally prepared at Hankau. 
For the better qualities the Russians invariably out- 
bid the English, and the finest kinds are consumed 
either in China or in Russia, where alone, it would 
seem, the upper classes are prepared to pay heavily 
for a fine tea. Tea was used as a beverage, in the 
earlier centuries of our era, in China, whence a 
knowledge of the plant was carried to Japan, where 
the cultivation was established in the thirteenth 

The wool industry in Mongolia and north Chihli 
is important, but the principal development of trade 
in recent years is the soya-bean from Manchuria, of 
which in 1909 no less than five hundred and eighteen 
thousand tons were shipped to Europe, of which 
four-fifths went to Britain, chiefly for soap manu- 
facture, the residue being suitable for feeding cattle. 

Insect-wax is exported to some extent from 
Szechuan, and the supply from that province, 
Yunnan, and Kweichau is believed to be capable of 
great expansion. Unlike those of their kind in 
Szechuan, the wax-insects of Shantung breed and 



become productive in the same districts. They are 
placed upon the trees in the spring, and at the 
close of the summer they void a peculiar substance 
which, when melted, forms wax. In the autumn 
they are taken off the trees, and are preserved within 
doors until the following spring. 

The history of tobacco in China is very curious, 
showing how rapidly a narcotic can spread. Some 
three hundred years ago it came from Japan (doubt- 
less introduced there by the Portuguese or Dutch) 
to Korea. Thence it was introduced into Manchuria, 
and, when the Manchu dynasty ascended the throne 
(a.d. 1664), made its way into China. Its use is now 
universal, the Manchurian tobacco being famous 
throughout China. 

Apart from the preparation of tea and other prod- 
uce, the chief manufactures before the Western trader 
entered into competition were porcelain and silk, the 
silks and gauzes of Suchau, Nanking, and Hangchau 
being highly esteemed. Silk is still the most valu- 
able export from China, although pressed hard by 
Japan. Silk- weaving is still carried on with native 
looms, the greater portion of the output being used 
in China; but twenty-seven per cent, of the world's 
supply of raw silk still comes from China. Reeling 
of silk cocoons by machinery and filatures for wind- 
ing silk have come into use. The world-famous 
porcelain came from the province of Kiangsi, and at 
one time as many as one million people were, accord- 
ing to report, employed on the works there; but the 
industry has fallen upon evil days, and the color and 
finish of earlier days are no longer to be found. 

Cotton-spinning and weaving mills, established by 


foreigners at Shanghai, are doing an increasing busi- 
ness, and are gradually displacing the native hand- 
looms, though a large proportion of the clothing of 
the lower classes is still produced by the older 
methods. It was the Chino-Japanese War of 1894- 
95 which secured to the Japanese, and thus to other 
foreigners, the right to establish these mills at 
Shanghai and elsewhere for the manufacture of yarn 
for the Chinese market. Flour and rice mills and 
sugar-refineries are superseding native methods. It 
appears, then, from this very rough survey, that 
China is becoming industrialized after the Western 
fashion, a fact which is bound to modify her relations 
with the other Powers. 

The production of opium, which was a considerable 
industry fourteen years ago, when the first edition of 
this book was published, is an ancient industry. As 
a medicine it has been used for nine centuries, and the 
smoking of opium mixed with tobacco was introduced 
by the Dutch in the middle of the seventeenth cen- 
tury. It was in 1800 that the importation of foreign 
opium was forbidden, and it was not till 1858 that 
it was regularized by being placed on a regular 
tariff footing. The abuses of the period during 
which it was contraband made this necessary; but 
with the growth of Chinese feeling against the in- 
jurious use of the drug came a demand for the limita- 
tion of its import, particularly from India. The 
present arrangement is that India shall send no 
opium in future to provinces which have abandoned 
its cultivation, and there is evidence that the home 
production is decreasing and that a firm stand is 
being made against the opium habit. 



In the development of her resources China has an 
invaluable asset in her great reserve of human labor. 
A Chinese coolie can be employed at from six to eight 
dollars (Mexican) a month, and, considering his 
greater strength and endurance, he is cheaper at 
these rates, either in or out of his own country, than 
the ordinary native of India. The people are sturdy 
and well built, those of north China being stronger 
than those of the south and more civil to foreigners. 
The poorer classes live almost entirely on rice and 
vegetables, to which they sometimes add small pieces 
of fish and meat. An artisan's wages vary, according 
to his skill, from sd. to lod. per diem. As a rule they 
are diligent workmen, being generally good car- 
penters, slow bricklayers, excellent stone-cutters, 
very fair navvies, indifferent blacksmiths, and bad 
at forge- work and iron- work. They are said not to 
appreciate the necessity of exactness, but to have 
considerable powers of imitation. They are con- 
sidered indifferent miners, but experience in South 
Africa seems to prove that they learn rapidly. When 
working by contract, piecework being usual, meals 
are provided on the premises. They work generally 
nine hours a day, lunching about noon, and dining 
after the day's work is done, usually on rice, fish, and 
vegetables. The amount of work done by a China- 
man in a given time does not equal that of white men 
working under similar conditions — a fact which is 
even more true of Japanese and, indeed, of all non- 
meat-eating races. In skill and industry, however, 
the Chinaman is unrivaled. 

Of the population not engaged in agriculture, a 
large number are tradesmen or engaged in commerce. 



The extremely overpopulated condition of certain 
sections of the country has had a powerful influence 
in molding the national character. Under the con- 
ditions which have prevailed till lately — especially 
want of communications — large numbers of the in- 
habitants have been compelled to emigrate. The 
Chinese immigration into Mongol territory, which 
commenced some centuries ago, was at first a purely 
political measure, the Emperor Kanghi fostering it 
by deporting criminals and building fortified cities. 
But the most rapid progress in the way of spontane- 
ous colonization appears to have been made in the 
last two decades. While in Manchuria the Chinese 
have succeeded in becoming the dominant race, they 
gain upon the Mongols chiefly by pushing them back, 
for no intermarriage takes place, and the Mongols, 
unlike the Manchus, do not assume the Chinese 
language and literature. Chinese are found abroad 
throughout the Far East as traders, laborers, farmers, 
and miners, and in places like Singapore, Bangkok, 
and Rangoon they are among the leading merchants ; 
while in the United States, Australia, and Canada 
they would be much more numerous but for the anti- 
Asiatic immigration policy adopted by these coun- 
tries. There are probably at least ten million 
Chinese residents beyond the Empire. In Japan and 
Korea there are comparatively few — a significant 

The genera] opinion among foreigners seems to be 
that the Chinese will be unable to manufacture any 
but low-grade articles, which may enable them to 
compete with Japan, but that the finer qualities of 
goods, for which as the country is opened there is an 



increasing demand, will still be supplied from abroad. 
So far, as might be expected, the general use of 
foreign goods is confined chiefly to the towns and 
districts either on the coast or near the great rivers, 
and this condition cannot change until railways 
penetrate those regions hitherto closed to foreign 
trade, and indeed to any but local manufacturers. 
In their industrial enterprises the Chinese are averse 
to the employment of foreigners as managers or 
engineers ; and, if utilized, their services are dispensed 
with as soon as possible, often before the native 
engineers have learned how to manage the intricate 
and delicate machinery which has to be dealt with. 
In the field of commerce, again, the Chinese are said 
to be incapable of conducting the greater enterprises, 
such as steamship services, iron- works, and so forth, 
while owing to defective management the majority 
of Chinese companies are, if not in actual financial 
difficulties, not doing well. Some of the more en- 
lightened Chinese, however, begin to realize that 
capital, machinery, and labor alone are not sufficient 
to make industrial and commercial undertakings a 
success.^ It must be borne in mind that Rome 
was not built in one day, and that we heard very 
much the same story in the early days of Japanese 
railways, steamships, and factories. The period of 
superficial training will pass, and China may yet 
astonish the industrial and commercial world. 
There is one serious drawback to progress — the 
absence of any code of company law, and no legal 
obligation on Chinese companies to furnish properly 

1 Report by British acting Commercial Attache at Peking on 
Trade of China in 19 lo. 



audited accounts, and the only security for a loan is 
a mortgage on the property, involving expert valua- 
tion, investigation of title, and government sanc- 

The foreign trade of China is carried on through 
''treaty ports" — sea and river ports and some inland 
cities which by treaties have been thrown open to 
trade. The total foreign trade in 1910 amounted 
to £113,605,126 (imports £62,331,472 and exports 
£51,273,654), showing an increase of over £15,000,- 
000 over the previous year. Of this, British trade 
(Great Britain, Hongkong, India, British dominions) 
accounted for 52 per cent, and foreign countries for 
48 per cent. Of the foreign share, Japan had 17 
per cent.; Europe (excluding Russia), 13 per cent.; 
United States, 7 per cent. ; Russia, 7 per cent. ; and 
other countries, 4 per cent. 

Of our competitors for China's import trade Japan 
is the most serious. In 19 10 for the first time im- 
ports from Japan were higher than those direct from 
the British Isles, though still far below the gross 
British total from all sources. Japan's share in 
Chinese imports has been rising very rapidly of late 
years, but it is satisfactory to note that, with the 
exception of textile goods and one or two other 
items, the increases are due to lines in which Great 
Britain does not compete with her, though they 
affect some of our Asiatic possessions. 

The Western world got many things from China, 
and many others were in use in the Chinese Ernpjxe 
before they were known to us. The mariner's com- 
pass, gunpowder, the use of the umbrella belong to 
the first category, and possibly some of the follow- 



ing also: The system of civil-service examinations, 
the early telegraph (signal towers), bull-fights, 
theaters, novels, the census, the rotation of crops, 
printing, incubators, bank-notes, newspapers, and 
inoculation for smallpox. 

In reviewing the general economic condition of the 
Chinese Empire we cannot fail to be struck by the 
fact that, though progress has been at a standstill for 
centuries, some of the products of China not only 
hold their own in the markets of the world, but are 
in some cases unrivaled. Again, though the tools 
used by the Chinese in theiFmanufactures and arts 

"^re, as a rule,"most pnrnitive, the results are re- 
markable, and sometimes beyond the reach of the_ 

"European, with his improved methods and up-to-date_ 
machinery and mechanism. The mineral wealth of 
China, perhaps the greatest of any country on the 
world's surface, is as yet hardly touched, while there 
is a vast store of human energy in the people of 
China to develop that wealth. A great force at 
present runs to waste in the shape of the water- 
power, at present unutilized. If the Chinese have^ 
been able to accomplish so much with so little ' 
adventitious aid, it requires no great foresight to 
be able to foretell that when the spirit of progress is_ 
really abroad in the land, and when modern improve- 
ments and methods are studied and adopted by the^ 
people, the Chinaman will occupy a leading position, 
among his contemporaries in the world of commerce 
and manufacture. 



THE first organic need of all civilized States, and 
pre-eminently so in a country so vast and so 
various in its terrestrial conditions as China, is 
arterial communication. This need, now long neg- 
lected, has been fully recognized by its rulers in the 
past, who have from time to time made serious 
efforts to connect the most distant parts of the 
Empire by both land and water routes. But in these 
degenerate days little has been attempted to main- 
tain, nothing has been done to improve, either by 
land or water, the great arterial communications, so 
urgent a necessity for China. 

The "Grand Canal," or Yun ho, so often spoken of 
and so highly extolled by travelers in past times, is 
in its way as great a monument of human industry as 
the Great Wall, although perhaps at first sight it may 
seem less wonderful. Not a canal in the Western 
sense of the word, it is * ' a series of abandoned river- 
beds, lakes, and marshes, connected one with another 
by cuttings of no importance, fed by the Wan ho in 
Shantung and by other streams and rivers along its 
course. A part of the water of the Wan ho descends 
toward the Hoang ho and Gulf of Pechili ; the larger 



part runs south in the direction of the Yang- 

It has generally the aspect of a winding river of 
varying width. As related by Marco Polo, the 
Emperor Kublai Khan, toward the end of the thir- 
teenth century, created the Yun-ho, the ''River of 
Transports," chiefly by connecting river with river, 
lake with lake. Even before that epoch goods were 
conveyed partly by water and partly by land from 
the Yangtze to the Pei ho basin. The Grand Canal 
connects Hangchau (in Chekiang) with Tientsin (in 
Chihli), and may be said to extend to Tungchau, in 
the neighborhood of Peking. After leaving Hang- 
chau, it skirts the eastern border of the Great Lake, 
surrounding in its course the beautiful city of Suchau, 
and then runs in a northwesterly direction through 
the fertile districts of Kiangsu as far as Chinkiang, 
on the Yangtze. Thence it passes through Kiangsu, 
Anhwei, Shantung, and Chihli, to Tientsin. In the 
halcyon days when the canal was in order there was, 
it is said, uninterrupted water communication from 
Peking to Canton, the waterways between the 
Yangtze and the West (Canton) rivers being con- 
nected. Many other canals of a minor importance 
also existed in the past. 

For many years past, but especially since the car- 
riage of tribute-rice by steamers along the coast 
began, repairs to the Grand Canal have been prac- 
tically abandoned. Numberless instances of the 
manner in which the waterways and the river em- 
bankments are neglected could be given. The re- 

^ Richthofen. 


pairs furnish a source of income for the local officials. 
Nothing is attempted till too late, when several 
hundred coolies, sometimes thousands, are requisi- 
tioned and hurried off to undertake what could be 
done by a few men and a little application of me- 
chanical skill, if taken in time. 

The higher waters of the streams and rivers are 
difficult to navigate. But the absence of cataracts, 
the cheapness of wages, and the small value of time, 
and even of life, make it possible for the Chinese to 
employ boat navigation advantageously where the 
difficulty, expense, and risk would make it an im- 
possibility in Europe. The Chinaman drags his 
boat over rapids that in most countries would 
form an absolute barrier to navigation. He takes 
it across shallows only a couple of inches deep 
and flowing with great velocity over a pebbly or 
shingly bottom. The amount of freight carried in 
this manner in the face of almost superhuman 
difficulties is astounding. 

The roads in China, confined generally to the 
northern and western sections of the country, are 
proverbially the very worst in the world. Roads are 
worn, not made. The typical western China road is a 
thing to be experienced; it cannot be described. 

The paving is of the usual Chinese pattern [says 
Baber], rough boulders and blocks of stone laid some- 
what loosely together on the surface of the ground; 
"good for ten years and bad for ten thousand," as the 
Chinese proverb admits. On the level plains of China, 
in places where the population is sufficiently affluent to 
subscribe for occasional repairs, this system has much 



practical value. But in the Yunnan Mountains the roads 
are never repaired; so far from it, the indigent natives 
extract the most convenient blocks to stop the holes in 
their hovel walls, or to build a fence on the windward side 
of their poppy patches. The rain soon undermines the 
pavement, especially where it is laid on a steep incline ; 
whole sections of it topple down the slope, leaving chasms 
a yard or more in depth; and isolated fragments balance 
themselves here and there, with the notorious purpose 
of breaking a leg or spraining an ankle. 

But they were not always so. China has had her 
roads and bridges at a time when many parts of 
Europe had none, for instance in Szechuan, Yunnan, 
and western China generally. 

Where traveling by water is impossible, carts, 
mule-litters, and sedan-chairs are used to carry 
passengers, and coolies with poles and slings, or 
animals, transport the luggage and goods. The dis- 
tances covered by the sedan-chair porters across 
these highland roads are remarkable, sometimes as 
much as thirty-five miles daily, even on a journey 
extending over a month, and with only a few days' 
halt together. 

No traveler in western China who possesses any sense 
of self-respect [says Baber] should journey without a 
sedan-chair, not necessarily as a conveyance, but for the 
honor and glory of the thing. Unfurnished with this indis- 
pensable token of respectability, he is liable to be thrust 
aside on the highway, to be kept waiting at ferries, to be 
relegated to the worst inn's worst room, and generally 
to be treated with indignity or, what is sometimes worse, 
with familiarity, as a peddling footpad who, unable to 



gain a living in his own country, has come to subsist on 
China. A chair is far more effective than a passport. 

The transport animals — ponies, mules, oxen, and 
donkeys — are very strong and hardy, and manage to 
drag the carts along the most execrable roads, six or 
eight animals being harnessed (often as a mixed team) 
to a cart drawing about a ton. Many descriptions of 
travel in a springless Chinese cart have been at- 
tempted, but no pen can possibly reproduce the sen- 
sation. The ponies of northern and western China 
are admirable, a rougher edition of the Shan or 
Burma pony, hardier and more enduring. The 
mules are unequaled in any other country. The 
distances that ponies and mules will cover are sur- 
prising, and this on the very poorest of fodder ; their 
endurance and patience being equaled only by that 
of the coolies. 

From Peking four highroads branch in various 
directions. One leads to Urga, and traverses the 
Great Wall at Kalgan; another enters Mongolia 
through the Ku-pei-kou in the northeast, and after 
reaching Fungning proceeds with a northwesterly 
bearing to Dolonor ; a third goes due east by way of 
Tungchau and Yungping fu to Shanhaikwan (the 
point on the gulf where the Great Wall terminates), 
and fourthly, one leads in a southwesterly direction 
to Paoting fu and on to Taiyuen fu in Shansi. 

The central Asian trade route from Sian fu, which 
turns northwest, leaving the fertile loess Wei Valley 
and traversing the once rich but now devastated and 
depopulated hills and valleys of Shensi and Kansu as 
far as the confines of the Gobi Desert, passes throug^^ 



a country of great agricultural wealth, possessed of a 
magnificent coal and probably also iron supply. It is 
a point of great importance to note that the most 
practicable line of approach for a railway from central 
Asia to central China is the present cart road via 
Sian, south of the Yellow River. From its favorable 
position Kaifeng-fu, the capital of Honan province, 
seems destined to be a great railway center. 

In turning one's steps southward, one is struck 
by the backward and decaying condition of the 
northern as compared with the central and southern 
provinces. The chief causes are: (i) The de- 
terioration of the climate, due to the persistent de- 
struction of the forests, and failure to take any steps 
to renew them. In the north, for example, on the 
route from Hankau to Peking, mountains and hills 
are destitute of trees and shrubs, and present a most 
forbidding appearance. (2) The neglected state of 
the means of intercommunication. When the Em- 
pire was flourishing, some of the roads were in a 
fairly good condition; now they are almost im- 
passable, and hence the congested state of certain 
districts in the north, especially Honan. 

The three great enemies of the supreme govern- 
ment in China have been famine, provincial au- 
tonomy, and rebellion. Famines are caused in 
China by various calamities. Locusts and rats may 
devour the growing crop of a whole province; de- 
ficient rainfall may prevent the crops (particularly 
on the loess) from coming to maturity; unseason- 
able snow on the highlands or heavy and continuous 
rainfall may breach the dykes and cause inunda- 
tion, thus bringing starvation and its accompanying 



horrors home to milHons. China, however, is a land 
of such variety and contrast that, though there may 
be famine in one or more provinces, at the same 
time there may be abundance in neighboring ones. 
But here, as elsewhere, without communications, a 
failure of the local crops means famine, while a 
bumper harvest actually depreciates the value of 
the produce, so as scarcely to repay the labor of 
reaping, for it cannot be removed. It is mainly the 
difficulty encountered by the government in trans- 
porting the food supply that, in famine times, leads 
to the terrible loss of life. To carry for long dis- 
tances the enormous amount of grain required, over 
terribly defective roads — especially in the north, 
where for practical purposes no waterway exists — 
is an impossible task. 

The story of the 1878 famine illustrates what such 
a calamity means in China. In that year Shansi 
and large portions of Chihli, Shensi, Shantung, and 
Honan — that is, a population of some millions — were 
suffering at the same time from famine. In Shansi 
it was at its worst. The people were hemmed in 
by a belt of famine-stricken country which it took 
weeks to cross. The peasantry clung to their 
homes until their last cash was spent, praying each 
day for rain that never came, and vainly awaiting 
the government relief. At last, penniless and 
weakened by starvation, they started — some with 
wives and children, but generally abandoning these 
— on their march to reach the food districts. Few 
succeeded. A consular officer, despatched on a 
merciful mission, says that of the thousands who 
thus attempted to escape, only those on the outer 



confines of the famine district succeeded in doing 
so. The Chinese government has been the subject 
of considerable opprobrium in connnection with 
famines, but its character for apathy and incapacity 
is not altogether deserved. The history of Indian 
famines should make us reflect before we too severe- 
ly blame the Chinese government for its want of 
success in famine relief. Means of communication 
did not exist, and the system and organization were 
faulty. The government, finding itself powerless to 
deal with the transport, was compelled to attempt 
relief by distributing money. The cost of cart 
transport from the Chihli plain to Shansi was official- 
ly stated to be £i2 per ton! In addition to want of 
communications, official corruption, as usual, found 
its opportunity. Thus came about the strange 
anomaly that, while people were suffering from star- 
vation, relief was sparingly given in money rather 
than in grain. When money began to fail, and gen- 
eral starvation set in, the government seriously be- 
stirred itself and imported silver as fast as it could, 
impressing into the service all available carts and 
animals. But the official rate of hire is consider- 
ably below the ordinary one, and there are other 
obvious reasons why government work is unpopular 
in China. The transport owners, therefore, avoided 
all parts where "requisition" was liable to be en- 
forced, and the government scheme of transport was 
brought to a standstill. The rates were then raised 
to the miarket standard, but much time had been 
lost, and in the mean time thousands upon thousands 
died from want. The wolves attacked not only 
children, but adults, in broad daylight and in the 
^^ 245 


village streets. There is no need to dwell further 
upon the horrible scene; it is sufficient to state that 
the consumption of human flesh became a practice. 

So long as China was absolutely cut off from the 
rest of the world, so long, even, as she was not 
impinged upon, hemmed in, or carved into, by 
Western Powers, it was quite possible for the Em- 
pire to at least hold together, loose as the system 
was throughout. Two disintegrating processes, how- 
ever, have been at work. While, on the one hand, 
foreign nations have closed in upon China both by 
sea and by land, internal communications have been 
gradually falling into greater and greater neglect. 
The growing weakness of the Manchu government 
has, for a long time past, been becoming more and 
more evident to the people and the officials, whose 
confidence had been gravely shaken, even before 
the shock of events since 1895 had completely done 
so. The enfeebled control exercised over most of 
the eighteen provinces, especially those remote from 
the capital, has been largely due to Peking being 
at the extremity of the country and to the defective 
condition of the communications. ''Chinese" Gor- 
don laid great stress on the importance of having 
the capital central; and he was right. The influence 
of the Peking government is exhausted long before 
it can reach the central region, and still more the 
southern and western provinces. The same cause 
that kills trade on its way inland paralyzes the au- 
thority of Peking a few hundred miles from the 
capital. Absence of communication means failure 
of control and lack of power; causes which chiefly 
contribute to the frequent occurrence of rebellions. 



If communications are a necessity to the govern- 
ment in checking famine, crushing the secret 
societies which sow the seeds of rebellion, and gen- 
erally in effecting good government, their value for 
purposes of defense and in time of war can hardly 
be overestimated. The importance of railways in 
war-time has been fully illustrated, notably in the 
Russo-Japanese campaign. The lesson should have 
been taken to heart by China. To have had the 
power at the beginning of the Chino- Japanese War 
of concentrating on the border, suddenly and with- 
out fear of interruption, a drilled army, however 
small, might have prevented things drifting into 
war; Russia might have thought twice before exe- 
cuting the coup de main on the Liaotung Peninsula 
and Port Arthur; Manchuria and Korea might still 
be hers. 

Much remains to be accomplished by steam navi- 
gation, though the rapid adoption of steamers along 
the coast and on the Yangtze has paved the way. 
Shallow steamers now traverse the Poyang and 
Tungting lakes, which lie next the Yangtze, and the 
Pei ho and Canton rivers, as well as many minor 
streams. But railways are the supreme necessity. 
Except along the Yangtze, for the thousand-odd 
miles now covered by steamers and other navigable 
rivers, there is no single trade route of importance in 
China where a railway would not pay. Such a line 
as those from Peking and Tientsin, carried through 
the heart of China to the extreme south, along 
existing trade highways, cannot fail to be advanta- 
geous and remunerative. The plain-lands, with de- 
fective waterways where small craft only are now 



available, and even the table-lands (less peopled than 
the river valleys, yet often rich), could profitably be 
covered with railways. The enormous traffic car- 
ried on throughout the Empire, in the face of appall- 
ing diffictilties — on men's backs, by caravans of 
mules or ponies, by the rudest of carts and wheel- 
barrows — must some day be undertaken by the 

It is matter for regret that the Chinese apostles of 
progress should have laid such importance on the 
introduction of the railway for strategic purposes. 
In the interests of foreigners, and of China herself, 
such steps were less to be desired than inter-provin- 
cial trunk-lines, designed primarily for administra- 
tion and commerce. In such free transit through- 
out the Empire, China would have found the wisest 
and safest means of defense. It was only by opening 
the Empire and peacefully developing its resources, 
thereby giving to all foreign nations a commercial 
interest in the country, enabling her to carry out 
the necessary reforms, that safety was to be found. 

The basis of railway construction should be the 
development of the internal or inter-provincial trade 
of China on some settled plan, the interchange of the 
varied products of a country boasting so many 
climates and soils. This would bring prosperity to 
the people, render administrative reform possible, 
and open "China for the Chinese," more than for the 
European merchant or manufacturer. Thus would 
be avoided the enormous waste of capital which has 
occurred in England, for instance, vv^here double the 
requisite amount has been expended owing to want 
of system. Consider the advantages to be gained. 



Here is a country of marvelous resources, with a 
poptilation intelligent, peaceful, industrious, and 
well disposed to migration, and yet the existing 
means of transport, whether by road or canal, are 
failing or disused. 

Of all the factors which are working a profound 
change in China one of the most powerful is the 
construction of railways within the past quarter of 
a century. With the exception of the small Kaip- 
ing railway built by Mr. Claude Kinder, the tiny 
Shanghai- Woosung line, torn up after a brief exist- 
ence and dumped down in Formosa some years later, 
and the line in that island which was allowed to fall 
into disuse, there was not until twenty-five years ago 
a single mile of railway in China. If China was 
dilatory in embarking on railway construction she 
has, judging from the conditions to-day, been trying 
to make up for lost time since then. In the year 
191 2 there is a mileage of railways open or under 
construction of over eight thousand miles (of which 
over fifty-nine hundred miles are in operation or 
nearly so), while there are also some three thousand 
miles of projected railways.^ Want of funds, dis- 
sensions among the promoters, differences of opinion 
between the central and provincial governments, 
apart from the intrinsic merits of the schemes, 
render the failure of some of these projected lines 
certain. When comparison is made with Japan the 
extent of the revolution effected in China in the 
matter of communications will be made evident. In 
the country which holds the record for magic evolu- 

1 So far as can be ascertained, the position at present is given 
in Appendix I. 



tion from feudalism to modern methods thirty years 
were occupied in building the first three thousand 
miles. The Chinese, as was anticipated by all who 
knew the character of the people and the success of 
railways in India and other Oriental countries, have 
taken to railways with alacrity and travel freely 
not merely for business, but often actually for the 
fun of the thing. The question now is not "Shall 
railways be built?" but, ''Who shall build them?" 
The anti- foreign capital movement and the revo- 
lution have for the time being suspended railway 
construction, but, order once restored, the work will 
be renewed with increased vigor. 



SINCE the first edition of this book was pub- 
Hshed two fresh factors in the Far East have 
been added to our calculations — Japan and Germany. 
It is true that, in 1898, the former had already shown, 
by her victory over China, that she was rapidly 
becoming the first of Oriental Powers, but it was not 
until the treaty of Portsmouth, in 1905, that she 
took her place among world Powers, and executed a 
treaty with Great Britain, which is the first of its 
kind between an Oriental and an Occidental nation. 
The German navy dates from 1898, but the modest 
naval bill passed through the Reichstag in that year 
was a finger-post hardl}^ noticed by Germans them- 
selves, among whom the propaganda of the Navy 
League (founded in the same year) had not yet 
spread the doctrine that their future ''lies on the 
sea." The modification wrought in world politics 
by the emergence of two new and great naval 
Powers, in the East and in the West, was, moreover, 
stimulated in a manner little foreseen by the adoption 
of a new type of battle-ship, and the consequent 
necessity for ''scrapping" a large number of vessels 
which, under earlier conditions, would have survived 
to augment the naval superiority of Great Britain. 



The writer on foreign politics of fourteen years ago 
was still reckoning with a world situation, in which 
Great Britain's naval supremacy was unassailable. 
Although he may perhaps still derive comfort from 
a calculation of tons and guns, and a meticulous 
comparison of dates when certain vessels will be 
completed, yet, broadly speaking, no one can deny 
that British naval supremacy is no longer a fixed 
and immutable quantity, but must be regarded in 
the light of hypotheses and contingencies which could 
not enter into the calculations of fourteen years ago. 

But, while making every allowance for the changes 
wrought by the developments referred to, there are 
certain broad lines, laid down by the writer in 1898, 
to which he is prepared to adhere. He saw then, 
and sees now, the greatest menace to China from 
the steady advance of the great Russian Empire 
toward her historic goal. After 1905 the Russian 
Empire passed through a period of internal con- 
vulsions so severe that it became usual to speak of 
her as almost a negligible quantity in world politics. 
To-day we find her pursuing, by identical methods, 
the foreign policy which led her across Asia. The 
weakness of Persia or of China are her opportunities. 
''The policy of the Russian government," said Lord 
Palmerston, in 185 1, ''has always been to proceed 
with its conquests as rapidly as the apathy or want 
of firmness of other governments permitted, but to 
retire if it encountered determined opposition, and 
then to await the next favorable opportunity to re- 
new the onslaught on its intended victim." The 
collision with Japan does not disprove this. Russia 
did not realize that she had at last come up against 



a hard instead of a soft organism. She disbeHeved 
the reports of Japan's readiness for war, and the 
latter took care not to give her time to be better 
informed. The events of 1904 checked her advance 
in one direction, but not in another. The recent 
announcement of the ''declaration of independence" 
by the Mongolian tribes, under the protection of 
Russia, was not unexpected, for in the last twenty 
years she has been steadily spreading a network of 
"diplomatic influence" throughout Mongolia, and 
the allegiance of the tribes to Peking was always 
more a matter of compulsion than of love. Of late 
years the Chinese government has been stiffening 
up its administration of these outlying provinces, 
and, whether through government encouragement 
or not, the Chinese colonist has been making his 
way not only to the belt of fertile land just beyond 
the Great Wall (which, indeed, is practically in- 
distinguishable from the Inner provinces), but to 
the country north and east of the Gobi Desert, and 
therefore contiguous to Russian territory. Indeed, 
the Chinese colonist has become a serious feature 
in Siberia itself, where the Russian agriculturist or 
trader is at a disadvantage with a rival so skilful, 
thrifty, and industrious. The Manchurian War re- 
vealed the fact, only half suspected by most ob- 
servers, that Russian colonization, even in that 
favored country, had not bitten deep, and that the 
territorial advances of Russia were being met by 
the economic advances of China. These considera- 
tions, however, only serve to whet the blade of 
Russia's determination, and they are mentioned 
here chiefly because of the light they throw on the 



Russian ofificial explanation of the Mongol atti- 
tude — China's aggressive policy, her people pushing 
the Mongols ofiE the fertile land, and so forth. 

Russia will now be in a position to construct the 
Trans-Mongolian extension from the Siberian line 
(via Kiachta and Urga) to Kalgan, which lies close 
to the Chinese boundary, being only one hundred 
and twenty-four miles from Peking, with which it 
is already linked by rail. That this short cut from 
the West will largely supersede the Manchurian rail- 
way cannot be doubted. It will also bring Russia 
within striking distance of the Chinese capital and 
the gulf of Pechili. 

The fate of Tibet is obscure. In 1898 the writer 
was inclined to take it for granted that it must fall 
into the hands which hold Mongolia and Turkestan. 
He was aware of the immense pains taken by Russia 
to become acquainted with the internal affairs and 
conditions of a country at that time jealously pre- 
served from foreign contact. The Tibet expedition, 
with its extremely negative results, and the con- 
ventions of 1904 with Tibet and with China, fol- 
lowed by an arrangement between Great Britain 
and Russia concerning Tibet, have to a certain ex- 
tent modified this view. The position of Tibet, not 
as an independent power, but as subject to China, 
was recognized and affirmed by those instruments. 
That the Tibetans do not like their position is well 
known. Whether or no they are strong enough to 
throw off the yoke is another thing. Certainly the 
Chinese administration of Tibet is in an unenviable 
position, some six weeks' journey from the capital 
of the Empire. Lord Curzon, to judge from a speech 



made in January, 191 2, regrets that the British 
government lost in 1904 the chance of creating in 
Tibet an independent buffer state. The outbreak 
of any serious revolt against China would probably 
render some such action imperative now, but the 
difficulty and danger of such an experiment at this 
stage is certainly aggravated by the fact that we 
have now a convention with China recognizing her 
suzerainty in Tibet. It would be deplorable if, in 
the interests of our Indian frontier, we were obliged 
to appear as embarrassing, and even betraying, the 
new Chinese government. But if we have tied our 
own hands as regards Tibet we have also, surely, 
tied those of Russia. India and China, be it noted, 
have at present three thousand miles of common 

An outline of French relations with China will be 
found elsewhere, in the chapter on foreign inter- 
course. Probably the most cynical thing in all his- 
tory is France's use, in foreign relations, of the 
church and religion which she has handled so severe- 
ly at home. The position of a French bishop in 
China, where he ranks with the highest grade of 
local officials and possesses extra-territorial rights, 
may be contrasted with that of a similar dignitary 
of the dispossessed church at home. The part played 
by France in southern China cannot be considered 
altogether apart from the Franco-Russian alliance, 
although the moderating power of Germany has 
altered the perspective of the British view of that 
alliance. The writer saw a good deal of the * ' Franco- 
Chinese Empire" at the period when it was being 
energetically pushed into public notice in France, 



and he wrote with considerable disapprobation of 
the French colonial method of administration, which 
consists chiefly in providing armies of fonctionnaires. 
But in one respect he is bound, as an honorable 
antagonist, to acknowledge a French victory. From 
the period of his earliest acquaintance with China 
he has been the advocate of the connection of that 
country, in its rich and populous province of Yun- 
nan and the Upper Yangtze, with Burma by a rail- 
way. The project has been again and again re- 
vived, more than one route has been surveyed, but 
nothing has been done. Meanwhile, France (whose 
intentions first spurred the writer on to his own 
efforts in this cause) has been allowed a walk-over 
in what he originally described as a "race for the 
Yangtze." Her line from Hanoi (the capital of 
Tongking),2;ia Lao-kai ( on the frontier), to Yunnan- 
fu, the capital of the province, is now complete, and 
surveys are made for the extension to the Yangtze. 

The importance of promoting intercourse between 
the two most populous countries in the world, India 
and China, so widely different in their circumstances, 
yet having so many and such vital interests in com- 
mon, should require no argument. The idea has its 
foundations in the actual circumstances of the two 
empires. Essentially commercial and peaceful, both 
are endowed, though in varied degree, with the com- 
plementary resources which, united, would make 
them not merely a serious antagonist, but dominant 
in southern Asia. Such an entente should and could 
have been cemented by interacquaintance and inter- 
communication. In such an understanding would 
have been, and might still be. found the best guar- 



antee for the preservation of the interests of the two 
empires, a sure means of preserving the peace of 
Asia. China knows that the policy of Britain, what- 
ever it may have been at one time, is one of com- 
mercial expansion and development only, untainted 
by ulterior designs, and that while Britain wants 
Chinese trade, other nations want Chinese provinces ; 
and, as China is compelled by circumstances to take 
a new departure in the direction of industrial and 
defensive enterprise, she is still disposed to look to 
Britain as an efficient guide and a safe ally. Better 
than ''disinterestedness" in international relations is 
an interest which is mutual, clearly avowed and un- 
derstood, and such is the bond which should cement 
British India with China. The unique opportunity 
so long enjoyed for developing our relations with our 
Imperial neighbor, bound to us by geographical and 
other ties, has been neglected. 

It was our duty to take China into tutelage, to 
strengthen her by insisting upon reforms. Instead 
of that, Britain blindly counted on China as an ally 
against Russia : China, in fact, was to play the part 
of buffer — vide, for instance, the Tibet Convention. 
Our diplomacy has been devoted to seeking her good- 
will, even at the cost of undue deference in the ques- 
tions of Sikkim, Tibet, and Burma; slights and 
affronts were met with humility, claims remained 
unsatisfied or were shelved; "treaty rights" became 
the synonym for "treaty wrongs." At the same 
time, China was encouraged against Russia, vague 
promises of help were held out, and hopes were 
raised which were doomed to bring nothing but dis- 
appointment in their train, until British promises 



came to be regarded — so a Chinese statesman in my 
presence termed them — as merely "from the teeth 

In the long run Japan took up the cudgels — not to 
protect China but herself from the growing menace of 
Russian expansion, and the result of a war, which 
might have been averted by a firm Far Eastern 
policy on our part at an earlier stage, has been the 
downfall of Western prestige in the eyes of all Asia, 
and, not least, in those of the natives of India. 

Another feature of France's development is singu- 
larly paralleled in our own experience, and has had 
much to do with her comparative quiescence in 
southern China to-day, as compared with twenty 
years ago. She, like ourselves, was distracted from 
the Far East by the possibilities of empire-making 
on a nearer continent. Just as preoccupation with 
equatorial Africa prevented our statesmen from de- 
voting any real attention to China in the eighties and 
nineties, so France found her true colonizing metier 
in the north of Africa, where her special qualities of 
method and administrative symmetry, and her 
scientific zeal for communications, are enabling her 
to build up a great empire. There is one feature of 
this preoccupation of both France and Great Britain 
which needs to be brought out. In northern and 
equatorial Africa — indeed, in almost the whole of 
that continent — we have a vast reserve for the 
product of raw material. How valuable that reserve 
is need not be emphasized here. But in China we 
have, as every authority has always insisted, the 
greatest market, as yet only partially exploited, 
for manufactured goods. If, as an industrial nation, 



we need a supply, free from the manipulations of 
foreign markets, of the raw materials of our in- 
dustries, do we not equally need to insure, both for 
the teeming millions of our own industrial popula- 
tion and for those of India, a fair chance of disposing 
of those industries on equal terms in the markets 
of the Far East? Elementary as this proposition 
may seem, it has over and over again been lost sight 
of by our statesmen, and to-day we have to face 
not only the handicapping of our goods in the 
Japanese home market, but their gradual exclusion 
from Manchuria and Korea, under a system of 
tariffs and railway rates judiciously framed to favor 
Japanese goods, without openly infringing the doc- 
trine of the open door. 

''How vital is its maintenance," as Lord Curzon 
has said, "not merely for the sake of our Empire, 
but for the sustenance of our people, no arguments 
are needed to prove. It is only in the East, and 
especially in the Far East, that we may still hope to 
keep and to create open markets for British manu- 
factures. Every port, every town, and every village 
that passes into French or Russian hands is an outlet 
lost to Manchester, Bradford, or Bombay." ^ 

If we add Japan to Russia and France we shall 
bring this statement up to date,^ but we may also 

^ Problems of the Far East, p. 415, by Hon. G. N. Curzon. 

2 The following table, relating to cotton piece - goods, is taken 
from R. P. Porter's The Full Recognition of Japan, iqii. It tells 
its own tale : 

Nationality p^g^, p^?- 

British 10,785,227 6,511,126 

United States 8,544,165 1,385,819 

Japanese 733.436 2,389,693 

Indian 85,003 147,952 



console ourselves with the reflection that it cannot 
now be long before we are able to resume, for the 
waging of our economic battles, the weapons which, 
as Lord Salisbury declared, we threw down in a vain 
attempt to convert the world to free trade. 

Before leaving the question of the relations of 
Britain, France, and Russia in the Far East it may 
be useful to repeat what was said in 1898 on this 
subject, because the vast improvement in the rela- 
tions of the three Powers in Europe have not, 
so far, been adequately reflected in that Pacific arena 
which, as a rule, reproduces the European situa- 
tion. ''In China," it was said in the first edition 
of this book, England has been completely isolated. 
Her efforts to achieve something have for years past 
been rendered futile by a systematic process of 
thwarting, practised as a fine art, by Russia and 
France. These two countries, and, later on, Ger- 
many, were securing for themselves solid ad- 

The United States is another fresh factor in the 
Far Eastern situation, and one which cannot be 
dealt with here in any detail. The writer has else- 
where made a special study of the steps which have 
led the American republic overseas and established 
her firmly as a great Pacific Power. ^ Having 
grown up, as it were, with her face to the Atlantic 
and her back to the Pacific, it has taken the United 
States some while to realize her manifest destiny; 
but, with hostages to fortune in so many parts of the 
ocean, she is no longer able to maintain an attitude 

1 "The Mastery of the Pacific," 1902. 


of aloofness. The American occupation of the 
PhiHppines brought many of her statesmen and 
administrators into contact with the Chinese, and 
the growing industriaHzation of their own country 
also drove them to the search for markets. A brief 
account of the diplomatic and commercial relations 
of the two countries has already been given, and it is 
enough here to say that the United States now 
has not only a considerable stake in the opening of 
China, but a great moral influence on the young 
educated class, which cannot fail to be reflected 
in future policy. 

The whole question of British and American re- 
lations with China and Japan must ultimately hinge 
upon some solution of the problem of Asiatic immi- 
gration. This question is so important that it must 
be dealt with at some length. The writer has fre- 
quently insisted that any attempt to differentiate 
between Chinese and Japanese in international inter- 
course can only be temporarily successful. Legis- 
lation to exclude the one yellow race must ultimately 
extend to the other. The arguments advanced 
against one are equally applicable to both, and the 
whole question tends to resolve itself into the prob- 
lem of white and yellow. In order to appreciate this 
it is necessary to review briefly the arguments usually 
advanced in favor of excluding the Chinese (and 
consequently also the Japanese) from various coun- 

As the first move of this kind took place on the 
Pacific coast of America (as late as i88o) it is well to 
turn to the American case first. The Western States 
welcomed Chinese labor in their early days, and it 

i8 261 


was a valuable assistance to them in their pioneer 
work. Without it the rapid rise to fortune of the 
Pacific slope could not have been accomplished The 
beginning of the anti-Chinese agitation on the ' * sand 
lots" of San Francisco, under the auspices of a 
notorious and disreputable tub-thumper, is now his- 
torical. Nominally a ''trade-union" movement, it 
soon became political, and having become involved 
in the tangled web of party politics in America there 
was little chance that Chinese labor would ever 
again be considered dispassionately. The con- 
science of the American people demanded that the 
Chinese should be vilified to justify their exclusion, 
and accordingly a vivid picture was drawn of the 
moral obliquity of the yellow man and the degrading 
influence of his presence in a white community. Al- 
though this libel has been largely discounted by the 
independent testimony of the white men who know 
most of Chinese psychology, yet it still survives 
in some quarters, and therefore a few words on the 
subject may be useful. 

The average Chinese — even the average emigrant 
— is a very fair specimen of humanity. He is usually 
educated, despite the very great difficulties of his 
language, accustomed to a civilized mode of life, has 
certain fine and even lofty ideals, and is industrious 
and thrifty. Removed from the influences of the 
communistic society in which he was brought up, 
he is liable to lose many of his native virtues, but 
his vices (with one exception) are emphatically those 
of the community in which he finds himself, while 
his virtues are his own. The existence of such a 
moral canker as Chinatown in San Francisco is due 



not so much to the wickedness of the Chinese as to 
the corruption of the white men's government. No 
people are more easily governed than the Chinese, 
but none are more capable of taking advantage of 
lax or corrupt officials. The statistics of crime show 
that the Chinese compare favorably with the 
Americans among whom they dwell, but as a matter 
of fact they prefer to deal with many offenses them- 
selves. Crimes of violence are not usual among 
Chinese in their own country, and in western Amer- 
ica, where such crimes are deplorably frequent, there 
are a few cases of a Chinese attacking a white man 
or woman. The Chinese minister at Washington, 
in a speech which was (to the writer's knowledge) 
not confuted, said, in reference to the murder of 
American missionaries in China, that more Chinese 
had been killed in the United States within twenty- 
five years than all the Americans ever killed in 
China, and that in no single case had punishment 
been meted out to the white man. 

There is, of course, a strong moral argument 
against forming yellow communities within white 
ones. The number of Chinese who are likely to 
bring their wives is small, and miscegenation is as 
undesirable between white and yellow as between 
white and black. This objection does not apply 
to contract labor for fixed periods, but labor unions, 
especially in America, have set their faces against 
contract labor. They resent the fact that the 
Chinese refuse to enter their unions or to fetter 
themselves by restrictions on their hours of work. 
The crux of the exclusion of the yellow races is, 
therefore, found in the intensely protectionist spirit 



of the new democracies — for a similar argument is 
employed in Australasia, Canada, and even South 
Africa. This argument is assumed to be an economic 
one — "We are ruined by Chinese cheap labor!" — 
but, in reality, it must be taken out of the confused 
region of economics into the higher one of sociology. 
We must return to this point again; but, in passing, 
it must be urged that it would be wiser to abandon 
the ''moral" argument altogether. Oriental trav- 
elers who have seen something of our own moral 
atmosphere comment bitterly on the stigma placed 
on their countrymen. We should be wiser, as well 
as more just, if we looked at the question fairly and 
gave the true reason for our attitude. 

The history of the American attitude to Chinese 
immigration follows a sharp, upward curve after 
1880. Restriction was followed by exclusion of 
* ' coolies, ' ' then by the extension of the word ' * coolie, ' ' 
then by regulations as to the American-born Chinese 
and the re-entry of those who revisit China. The 
increasingly strict and vexatious interpretation of the 
Immigration Acts culminated in the action taken at 
the time of the Louisiana Exhibition already referred 
to, and President Roosevelt declared that his 
country had ''fallen far short of its duty" toward the 
people of China. The awakening national con- 
sciousness of China, stimulated by Japanese success, 
led to a retaliation upon American goods, which con- 
stituted, perhaps, the first really national demon- 
stration in China. The boycott had no official 
sanction, and was even actively opposed by Viceroy 
Yuan Shih-kai, but it was consistently carried 
through, not only in China but in Hongkong and 



Singapore, and as American trade was growing 
rapidly it caused genuine dislocation. Cotton- mills 
in the United States had to be shut down, and, al- 
though the boycott was abandoned, American trade, 
which expected such a large expansion after the 
Russo-Japanese War opened the door of the East, 
received a serious check. 

The question of the education of Japanese in 
California schools is merely another sign of the in- 
creasing tension between white and yellow. Jap- 
anese immigration increased from 2,230 in 1898 to 
nearly 20,000 in 1903, and there was a strong suspi- 
cion that the men, of whom 90 per cent, come in as 
farmers," fulfilled the immigration regulations 
through collusion with certain labor immigration 
agencies. It was also stated that the Chinese 
evaded the law by obtaining illegal naturalization. 
A Federal judge has calculated that, if all the 
Chinese claiming naturalization were legally entitled 
to it, every Chinese woman in the country twenty 
years ago must have had about five hundred children. 
The situation reflects not only on the ingenuity of the 
Chinese, but on the corruptibility of the naturaliza- 
tion officials. Despite these evasions it cannot be 
seriously urged that the actual number of Asiatics 
constitute a moral or economic danger in States 
which contain a strong white population. It is dif- 
ferent, of course, in a country like British Columbia, 
where the white settlers are still only a handful. 
The method of exclusion adopted by Canada is a 
penalty of five hundred dollars for landing pro- 
hibited immigrants and a tax of fifty dollars on each 
immigrant. The prohibition by the British Colum- 



bia legislature of immigrants who could not read 
or write a European language was disallowed 
by the Dominion government in 1909, but the 
strong feeling against Asiatic immigration still ex- 

The attitude of Japan toward this question is 
significant. By 1906 trade between Canada and 
Japan had shown such signs of increase that the 
Dominion asked to be allowed to become a party to 
the original Japanese-British commercial treaty of 
1894, without any restriction on immigration. No 
sooner was this done than a large Japanese immigra- 
tion into British Columbia began, and anti- Asiatic 
riots were the result. A Canadian minister was sent 
to Tokio, with the result that Japan intimated that 
she would not "insist upon the complete enjoyment 
of the rights and privileges" to which her position, 
by the treaty of 1894, still entitled her. In short, 
while she had been willing in 1895 to accept treaties 
with the dominions (as with the United States) 
which involved the exclusion of Japanese immi- 
grants, she refused in 1907 to do more than volun- 
tarily — and as a favor — restrict immigration from 
her shores to Canada. 

In 1894, when the British government agreed to 
the abolition of its extra-territorial rights in Japan, 
that country entered into the comity of civilized 
nations. A commercial treaty between Great Brit- 
ain and Japan gave privileges to the traders of each, 
and allowed unrestricted rights and liberties to 
travelers **in any part of the dominions or possessions 
of the other." An amending clause, however, added 
that these rights should not be granted in India or 



the self-governing dominions unless they consented. 
Only Natal and Newfoundland acceded; the other 
dominions offering to adopt a proviso similar to that 
put forward in the commercial treaty between the 
United States and Japan of 1895, but going beyond 
it in excluding not only laborers but artisans. These 
terms were practically accepted by Japan, but when 
the question was discussed at the Colonial Con- 
ference of 1897 it was finally decided to refuse the 
treaty altogether. In the last commercial treaty 
with the United States the same significant change 
is noticeable. In 1895 the United States asserted 
the right to exclude Japanese laborers. That 
paragraph has been altogether dropped in the new 
treaty, and the question is therefore suspended, as 
it were, by a single hair, the real Damocles's sword of 
the international situation. 

It is interesting to note that out of some four 
and three-quarter millions of Chinese who have left 
their country for other continents in the last thirty 
years only four million have returned. Making full 
allowance for a considerable death rate, this shows a 
leakage to foreign countries of some four hundred 
thousand. The possibility of such leakage is there- 
fore some excuse for the American attitude, but it is 
hard to reconcile Anglo-Saxon ideas of liberty and 
justice with the attempt made in 1892 to render 
unlawful residence by a Chinese in the United States 
a crime punishable by a year's imprisonment without 
trial by jury. Although this was disallowed, it meets 
the views of a large section of the American public, 
and, taken in conjunction with the attitude of the 
Western nations in forcing their way into China, is a 



striking illustration of the adage about orthodoxy and 

The main objection raised to yellow labor on 
economic grounds is that it lowers the standard and 
undercuts white labor. All over the world the same 
phenomenon is to be observed, that the Asiatic can do 
work as well as, and even better than, the white man, 
and because of his frugal habits can accept a lower 
wage. It is frequently asserted that it is the low 
standard of an inferior civilization which enables him 
to do this, but no one who has any real acquaintance 
with the Oriental could accept this dictum without 
question. What is the essential of a high grade of civ- 
ilization ? Certainly not a high rate of expenditure on 
material comforts. Who that knows the Chinese and 
still more the Japanese in their homes — ^homes where 
the annual family budget is perhaps only a few pounds 
— who has seen the grace and dignity with which they 
invest their small possessions, the etiquette and self- 
control, the philosophy and artistry with which they 
are imbued, their attitude toward the family, the 
Unseen World, and the state — who that has seen all 
this can be prepared to say that the working classes 
of the West, with their frank materialism, are a 
superior type of civilization? We may well ask our- 
selves if we are not setting up a false standard in this 
as in other matters; but, even if this standard of 
expenditure is adopted, a great deal of the agitation 
against yellow labor will be found to be unjustifiable. 
The old story that the Chinaman sends all the gold 
he earns out of the country is by no means accurate. 
A proportion he will always send, but as he earns 
easily he will spend generously, and with all his 



business cunning he is neither a miser nor cur- 
mudgeon and will surround himself with the comforts 
and luxuries of the country he lives in. 

If, therefore, we intend to take our stand on the 
economic argument, let us not do so with hypocritical 
pretense that it is the inferiority of the yellow man 
that makes him dangerous, but let us frankly ac- 
knowledge, as the Australian premier has done, that 
it is the many superior qualities of the yellow man 
which make it necessary for us to protect ourselves 
against his competition. In this, as in other ways, 
the younger democracies are frankly protectionist, 
and the recognition of the principle of protection is 
the only logical excuse or explanation for the policy 
of Chinese exclusion. 

The Australian measures for Asiatic exclusion are 
very stringent, since they include a dictation test — 
fifty words in "any prescribed language." New 
Zealand makes the test in ''any European language." 
It must be said that the test is used to exclude un- 
desirable aliens of all races. In the Union of South 
Africa, although the Immigrants Restriction Act of 
191 1 failed to pass, the measures for exclusion are of 
the same drastic character, and arrest without war- 
rant of persons suspected of being prohibited immi- 
grants is allowed. 

The Australian's point of view is one that arouses 
sympathy. His is the only continent which is genu- 
inely homogeneous in race, and his effort has been 
to keep it as the heritage of a white British race. 
Unlike the western American, he has not called in 
foreign or Asiatic help to do his pioneering or to 
swell his population, and he is prepared to sacrifice 



much to preserve the ideal of race solidarity. But, 
with every appreciation of the Australian attitude, 
one cannot but regard the facts of the case with ap- 
prehension. This handful of white men, some four 
and a half millions in number, are undertaking a 
serious task in proposing to hold three million square 
miles of country in the teeth of four hundred millions 
of Asiatics who are embarked on that course of 
national development which invariably leads to land 
hunger. At present there are only thirty thousand 
Chinese and thirty-five hundred Japanese in Aus- 
tralia, and the immigration acts make it difficult for 
any Asiatic to land. The strong point in the 
Australian case is that they have always discrimi- 
nated against alien immigration of all kinds, and that 
the Chinese has not to complain that people of in- 
ferior caliber, mentally or morally, are admitted 
while he is refused. As Mr. Deakin said, it is not 
a moral objection which influences Australia, but 
simply the desire to protect her sons from competi- 
tion. This is an argument which the Chinese per- 
fectly understand, and, although they may regret it, 
they are too anxious to recover their own * ' sovereign 
rights" to protest against the exercise of those 
prerogatives by another country. The danger for 
Australia is, therefore, not immediate, but it is none 
the less an inevitable sequitur unless the populations 
of the Pacific can be better balanced by an enormous 
increase in the white population of Australia. 

The basis of all the acts which exclude the Chinese, 
disqualify them or the Japanese, or interfere with 
their freedom of action in foreign countries is not a 
Pharisaical regard for public morality, is not even 



only the selfishness of trade-unions, nor the protec- 
tionist policy of young democracies. It is rooted far 
deeper than this in the mysterious barrier which lies 
between white and yellow as it does between white 
and black. Relations between races which cannot 
successfully blend, and which seem to have an in- 
stinct against miscegenation, can never be arranged 
on terms of freedom and equality. In the past our 
intercourse with the two main yellow races has been 
complicated by the foolish contempt with which we 
and they mutually regarded each other. Now it is 
becoming possible to have a better mutual under- 
standing, and since the peace of Portsmouth and 
our own alliance with Japan we have made public 
acknowledgment of the status of a yellow people in 
the comity of civilized nations. It is possible that 
Japan expected (and that China also expects) this 
acknowledgment to be followed by the placing of 
the yellow man on the same footing internationally 
as the rest of the civilized races. Such a hope is 
bound to be disappointed, and it is in the highest 
degree important that we should make this clear and 
place our relations with the East on a broad and def- 
inite footing before one of those unforeseen "inci- 
dents" occurs which outrage national sentiment and 
make war inevitable. This matter of the relations 
between white and yellow is not as complicated as 
that between white and black. We are not dealing 
with unreason or with undeveloped possibilities, but 
with a situation and a people with whom we can 
come to terms on a basis of mutual concession and 
advantage. They will not question — ^have never 
questioned — our right to protection in any form; 



they do resent the non-fulfilment of treaties, the 
vexatious application of laws, and the violation of 
obligations of courtesy between civilized peoples. If 
a satisfactory basis of relations can be established 
there seems no reason why, without any idea of 
settlement, large numbers of Chinese should not be 
recruited for certain terms to help on the great works 
for which the world is waiting. Such temporary 
immigration relieves the congestion of the country, 
and by enlarging the ideas of the coolies helps forward 
the progress of China. The conditions of Chinese 
society and the peculiarities of Chinese character 
mitigate all the more obvious evils of such coolie 
emigration. "Chinese cheap labor" is a world asset 
which ought not to be allowed to run to waste, for, 
be it remembered, the value of the Chinese worker 
is not measured by his "cheapness," but by the 
excellence of his work. 

To turn again to the relations of the Powers in the 
Far East. Japan, of course, in 1898, was still the 
hated conqueror, who had inflicted humiliation on 
China. A portion of the odium which would have 
descended on her head, however, was diverted to the 
Powers who intervened, and compensated themselves 
so liberally for their generosity. Also the vast ma- 
jority of Chinese never appreciated the fact that the 
Japanese had defeated the Imperial troops and sunk 
the Imperial navy. No such news was officially 
circulated, and at that time unofficial channels for 
diffusion of news were still few and far between. To 
the official mind, and especially to Li Hung Chang 
and the late Dowager-Empress, their defeat, and 
the superior efficiency of Japan, presented itself in the 



light of a revelation, but like many revelations it 
was only partial. Being still convinced of the in- 
effable superiority of Chinese civilization, they con- 
cluded Japan's success to be due to the use of modem 
machinery. If killing is really an essential feature 
of relations between modem states, they said, we 
must certainly buy some up-to-date killing appa- 
ratus. Accordingly, they began to place large orders 
for guns and armaments, but took few measures to 
provide the man behind the gun. That Japan 
handled the situation with tact cannot be denied, for 
she was always ready with instructors, teachers, and 
drill-masters, but it was only after her defeat of 
Russia that China really took to heart the lesson of 
the awakening of Japan, and since that time the 
diplomatic situation between the two Oriental 
neighbors has more than once been strained to 
breaking-point by their relations in Manchuria. 

It is generally assumed that Japan's particular 
interest in the present crisis has been to preserve the 
Manchu dynasty, because a republican form of gov- 
emment will introduce a dangerous free-thinking 
element in the Far East, where religion and govern- 
ment are closely interwoven. It is undoubtedly 
tme that the theocratic basis of Japanese rule may 
suffer from contact with Chinese republicanism; but, 
as Japan was the breeding-ground for anti-Manchu 
propaganda, she cannot complain too much. It used 
to appear as though she did not mind encouraging 
what might prove an embarrassment to the Chinese 
govemment, but probably this is to do her injustice. 
A stable and prosperous but not too large and not 
too united China would probably suit best those 



projects of economic and territorial expansion which 
are dearest to Japan. An alHance of the Oriental 
against the Occidental races might occur if sufficient 
pressure were brought to bear from outside, or if the 
Asiatic exclusion worked up to a climax. At present, 
however, it is some way off, for China is too weak 
to afford alliances. 

This survey of the international situation began 
with the premise that Great Britain no longer holds 
unquestioned supremacy in the sea. It must end 
with a brief account of what was the logical outcome 
of that state of affairs — the Anglo-Japanese Alliance 
concluded in London on August 12, 1905. The 
preamble of the treaty states its objects as threefold : 
first, the consolidation and maintenance of general 
peace in eastern Asia and India ; second, the preser- 
vation of the independence and integrity of the 
Chinese Empire and the principle of equal oppor- 
tunities for all nations in China ; and, third, the main- 
tenance of the territorial rights of the high contract- 
ing parties, and defense of their special interests, 
which are further defined as existing in Korea and 
on the frontiers of India. As this treaty was sub- 
stantially renewed in 191 1, it may be convenient to 
say here that the main difference in this part of the 
instruments of 1905 and 191 1 lies in the omission 
from the latter of any mention of Korea, which had 
passed from the stage of special interest" into 
that of incorporation with the Japanese Empire. 
The obligations incurred by the contracting parties 
vary somewhat in the two treaties. In both of them 
unprovoked attack or aggressive action, involving 
either party in war, for defense of its territorial rights 



or special interests, makes it obligatory that the 
second party shall come to the assistance of the one 
attacked. In the 1905 treaty Great Britain under- 
took to come to the assistance of Japan in the war 
she was still waging with Russia if any other Power 
or Powers joined Russia. 

A clause in the 191 1 treaty, not found in the earlier 
one, provides that, in the event of either contracting 
party concluding a treaty of arbitration with another 
Power, "nothing in this agreement shall entail upon 
such contracting Power an obligation to go to war 
with the Power with whom such arbitration treaty is 
in force." This is an echo of the now somewhat dis- 
credited policy of arbitration treaties, advanced by 
President Taft and seconded by Sir Edward Grey. 
It was suggested that the Anglo-Japanese treaty, in 
the event of a war between the United States and 
Japan, would oblige Great Britain to fight for the 
latter against the former, even though she might have 
agreed to submit all questions between herself and 
the American republic to arbitration. The enthu- 
siasts for a peace policy had begun to dream of 
arbitration agreements covering the globe like a net- 
work, and as a concession to them Article IV gave 
either party the chance of contradicting out of the 
agreement. As the American Senate appears to 
oppose an impenetrable barrier to arbitration pro- 
posals, because they decline to waive their right of 
deciding what questions are and what are not 
''arbitrable," it does not look as if Article IV made 
any real breach in the alliance, which certainly, as 
it stands, binds Great Britain to fight with and for 
Japan against any unprovoked attack or aggressive 



action involving her in war for the preservation of 
her territorial rights or special interests. 

The enormous advantage this treaty gave to Japan 
at the moment of its conclusion can only be realized 
when we remember that her heroic efforts had 
brought her to the end of her financial resources. 
But it cannot be denied that it also relieved British 
statesmen of a serious anxiety. The situation in 
Europe, and the rapid growth of German naval 
policy, made it necessary to rearrange the distribu- 
tion of the British navy and to concentrate the bulk 
of it in home waters. There is at present no pros- 
pect of any change in that distribution. The 
Anglo- Japanese Alliance, which secures the friend- 
ship of the one naval Power whose home waters are 
in the Pacific, was a covering movement, and has 
served its object. At the same time, it cannot be 
forgotten that the British Empire lies partly in the 
Pacific, and that in Australia, New Zealand, and the 
Pacific coast of Canada we have hostages to fortune 
whose immunity from attack we cannot permanently 
assure by our present policy. Australia is founding 
a small but efficient navy, so constituted as to be 
easily combined with the British force ; New Zealand 
contributes the flag-ship of the China squadron and 
adheres to the policy of contribution. Both Aus- 
tralia and New Zealand have adopted universal 
military training. Canada, so far, places her re- 
liance entirely in the Monroe Doctrine. All these 
countries enforce strict Asiatic exclusion laws, and 
could not substantially modify them without sacri- 
ficing national ideals. The writer looks upon this 
question as one which at any time may come to the 



front, and doubts very much whether it can be post- 
poned until the dominions are strong enough to main- 
tain their attitude unaided. The awakening and re- 
form of China and the estabHshment of a more 
modem form of government are bound to stimulate 
the national pride and self-respect of Orientals. 
That there is no way out of the difficulty is not sug- 
gested, but that it can be secured through reliance on 
an Oriental ally must be strongly questioned. 

The result of that policy, even in securing interests 
mentioned in the preamble, is by no means satis- 
factory, though it may be argued (and has been 
argued by the present Secretary for Foreign Affairs, 
Sir E. Grey) that when we are not prepared to pay 
the piper we cannot expect to call the tune. The 
British government which came into office in 1906 
was pledged to retrenchment in armaments, and has 
had a constant struggle ever since to justify that 
pledge in the light of the competition that has had 
to be met. In many respects that government has 
done far better in the field of foreign policy than 
could have been expected, but it had certainly no 
mandate for any bold or adventurous policy. If, 
therefore, Great Britain has had to stand aside, and 
see her trade conventions slighted, her railway in- 
vestments in China tied up, and her interests gener- 
ally suffering, nothing else could have been expected. 
Manchuria, at the time of signing the 1905 treaty, 
was (and still is in law) part of China, but Japan 
cannot be competed with in the markets of Man- 
churia. Korea, of course, is quite lost. Incident- 
ally, the existing treaty, while nominally securing the 
integrity of China, cannot apparently be invoked in 
19 277 


the teeth of a secession (under Russian protection) 
by Mongolia, which has just declared its inde- 

The mistake lies in the comfortable supposition 
that the Anglo-Japanese Alliance secured the status 
quo in the Far East. The status quo has been altering 
all the time, and will continue to alter, and both 
British and American interests can only be secured 
by vigilance and determination. As it is fairly clear 
to every one in the Far East that neither Great 
Britain nor the United States is in a position to 
back diplomacy with force, it cannot be a matter of 
surprise if that diplomacy sometimes lacks effec- 



AS this chapter goes to press China is in the throes 
of a revolution, and the immediate course of it 
cannot, with any certainty, be predicted. The 
ultimate outcome will be a remodeled China, as 
efficient in her way as the new Japan, and more 
wealthy — perhaps more powerful. But how much 
water must flow under the bridge before this goal is 
reached no one can say. There are too many un- 
known quantities to be reckoned with. 

In the chapter on the New Learning can be traced 
the very characteristic course of the Chinese renas- 
cence. It came through literary sources. Japan's 
revolution was aristocratic, military, from above. 
China's has come from below. The gradual spread 
of printed matter has coincided with an increased 
intercourse with the West. Chinese students have 
gone to Japan, Europe, and America, and Chinese of 
the literary and official classes have traveled and seen 
the world. One of the features of the revolution has 
been the support accorded to it by Chinese living 
abroad, and the rallying-point for reformers of all 
classes has been found, eventually, in the anti- 
Manchu propaganda. It is not the intention of the 
writer to elaborate in this chapter arguments against 



the dynasty, which can be found throughout this 
book. Most of the charges brought against them 
were written over fourteen years ago, and have not 
been altered, for the faults of the Manchus in 191 2 
are the faults of 1898, with the additional grievance 
that, whereas in the Empress-Dowager Tze Hsi's time 
there was at least some semblance of a policy, since 
her death the government have been mere straws on 
the current. If the current had been purely Chinese 
the straws might have floated down - stream, but 
as it is they have swirled and eddied, and finally 
coalesced into what the Chinese believe to be an 
insuperable obstacle to progress. 

The late Empress- Dowager, before her death, 
chose to adopt a pro-reform attitude. Edict after 
edict was promulgated, dealing with the principal 
abuses found in the kingdom. Some of these were 
chiefly intended to impress foreign nations, others 
were concessions to pressure from below. The 
promise of constitutional government in 1906 and 
the despatch of an Imperial mission to study foreign 
forms of government were probably regarded by the 
Court as an excellent way of staving off a difficulty ; 
but the edict of 1907, which declared that China 
must, ''after careful investigation, proceed to imitate 
the constitutional type of government," was followed 
by surprisingly rapid results. Yuan Shih-kai, in the 
autumn of that year, introduced a new scheme of 
municipal popular government in Tientsin. 

The council was elected by delegates, themselves 
chosen by popular ballot. The council is not paid, 
and its decrees are carried out by an executive board 
of salaried officials chosen by ballot from the coun- 



cilors. This microcosm of a parliament met first, 
after much preHminary educative work, on August 
1 8, 1908, and had the honor of being the first repre- 
sentative assembly in China. By the edict of 1906 
the provincial officials had been directed to prepare 
the ground for local representative assem.blies, and 
in the summer of 1908 edicts were issued convoking 
these parliaments within a year, and fixing their 
functions, which were to be purely advisory. At the 
same time (August, 1908) constitutional government 
for the whole country was promised in nine years; 
this was reaffirmed in the following December, after 
the death of the Empress- Dowager and the Emperor 
Kwang-su, and the accession of the new infant 
sovereign. It was not till the autumn of the following 
year (October, 1909) that the Provincial Assemblies 
first met, and they conducted themselves with a 
decorum and, on the whole, a harmony which sur- 
prised some observers. It was noticed from the 
first, however, that they were inclined to assume 
powers beyond the very limited advisory ones per- 
mitted by the edict of the previous year. The de- 
mand for a national parliament grew apace, and the 
next year (October, 19 10) saw the second meeting of 
the Provincial Assemblies and the first of the embryo 
National Parliament at Peking. The latter was com- 
posed of two hundred and sixty-two members: 
ninety-eight nominated by the Emperor (comprising 
members of the Imperial family, Mongol princes, 
Chinese and Manchu nobles, Imperial clansmen, 
representatives of various boards, scholars, and land- 
owners), ninety-eight representatives of Provincial 
Assemblies, and the remainder deputies appointed 



by the Grand Council and boards. In the year 19 lo 
three largely signed petitions were presented to the 
government in favor of the immediate grant of a 
constitution, and the last was sent up by the Pro- 
vincial Assemblies, and was actually supported by 
the Senate of the National Parliament. Moreover, 
when in Kwangsi the Provincial Assembly had a dif- 
ference with the governor, the Senate supported the 
Assembly. One of the more important measures of 
the National Parliament was the appointment of a 
commissioner of foreign affairs for each province — 
a decentralization of power, since hitherto all foreign 
relations had to be referred to Peking. 

But, although on the surface the advance toward 
representative government appears to have been both 
orderly and rapid, the Chinese reformers were not 
satisfied. The changes which were made in defer- 
ence to the pressure of public opinion did not go to 
the root of abuses which lie, very largely, in the 
Manchu system of nepotism. The Dowager-Em- 
press Tze Hsi, not long before her death, issued an 
edict abolishing the special privileges of the Manchus, 
and recommending mixed marriages, thus endeavor- 
ing to mitigate the offensiveness, to Chinese eyes, of 
the presence of a ruling caste. But under the regime 
of her successors the reactionary Manchu nobles 
regained power, and the position of the Imperial 
clansmen and bannermen, as "eaters-up" of the 
people, holding a large number of administrative 
posts and enjoying a living which neither they nor 
their fathers had earned, was not to be altered by a 
stroke of the pen. Changes made in the forms of 
government at Peking were illusory — a square table 



instead of a round one and the same reactionary gang 
dominating the councils. Moreover, in the Palace 
itself (although the writer believes some of the stories 
as to this to be exaggerated) the old evil Manchu 
custom of eunuch domination, and consequent in- 
trigue and corruption, ran riot. Administrative 
reform is impossible when the stream is poisoned at 
its source, and true parliamentary government was 
believed by the Chinese to be impossible with a 
Manchu camarilla always at hand. 

We come, therefore, to the revolution of 191 1, and 
the sudden emergence from obscurity of Dr. Sun Yat 
Sen as the leader of a republican party. Born in 
Honolulu in 1862, Sun was educated as a Christian at 
a mission school, and later on was a medical student 
at Dr. Kerr's Hospital at Tientsin, whence he went 
to join the staff of the Alice Memorial Hospital in 
Hongkong. His first attempt at private practice 
was in Macao, but owing to the customary prohibi- 
tion of any practitioner not possessing the Portu- 
guese diploma, he had to move to Canton, where he 
became involved in the reform plots of 1895. The 
Canton plot was betrayed, many reformers were cap- 
tured and executed, and Dr. Sun escaped with a price 
on his head. He was a political fugitive from that 
time till January, 191 2, when, in answer to a cable 
from the reform leaders in Shanghai, he landed there 
and was shortly after proclaimed the Provisional 
President of the new Chinese republic. In the six 
years of his wanderings he has never ceased the work 
of propaganda, and at the same time has visited 
and studied many countries. His adventure in 1896, 
when he was kidnapped and kept prisoner in the 



Chinese legation in London, is too well known for 
repetition. Had he not succeeded in communicating 
with a friend outside, he would doubtless have been 
deported to China, and would have paid forfeit with 
his life. On Europeans with whom he comes in con- 
tact Dr. Sun makes a most favorable impression, be- 
ing obviously a man of genuine enthusiasm and single 
mind. While other Chinese reformers, even Kang 
Yu-Wei, have fallen into disrepute with their coun- 
trymen. Dr. Sun, who has handled very large sums of 
money for his compatriots, has remained poor, and is 
of the utmost simplicity in his habits. 

Just before he sailed for China the writer had two 
long and intimate conversations with Dr. Sun, and 
was empowered by him to state authoritatively the 
plan of action which the reform party intended to 
put into action should it gain ascendancy. The first 
and unshakable resolve is that the Manchu dynasty 
must go. Next, they designed to set up a provi- 
sional government, with Dr. Sun as its President. 
There will be three periods. First, a period of 
martial law, during which administrative abuses will 
be abolished. The second period will be "conven- 
tional" — that is, carried on by means of conventions 
between the military and local elected bodies. 
Three years later it is hoped that the country will be 
ready for a federal constitution, when the President 
will abdicate, and a new National Assembly, with 
two chambers, will be elected and will promulgate 
an organic law. Dr. Sun does not wish the Chinese 
republic to follow closely any existing model, and 
proposes to retain two features already familiar to 
China — the Board of Censors, who form an inspec- 



torate and have the power of impeaching for dere- 
Hetion of duty any offending official, and the method 
of selection for administrative posts through a literary 
competitive examination. 

So far the progress made by the Republican party 
in China does not promise a smooth path to success, 
and yet the first and most vital feature in their pro- 
gramme seems to be nearly assured. At the time of 
writing the Imperial family still hovers on the edge 
of abdication, but there seems to be little doubt that 
they must accept the terms offered. In their con- 
sternation they sent for Yuan Shih-kai, who had been 
sent into retirement some years before, after the 
death of the Empress- Dowager Tze Hsi. Yuan did 
not respond immediately to their appeal, and when at 
last he arrived at Peking he did not betray any very 
striking signs of constructive statesmanship. The 
reform party captured Wuchang, Hanyang (with 
its arsenal), Hankau, and eventually Nanking. 
Fourteen provinces seceded, Canton and many other 
cities went over bodily to the Republicans, and dis- 
orders began to spread in the northern provinces. 
Massacres of Manchus, retaliation by Imperial 
troops, self-immolation by women fearful of falling 
into the enemy's hands — all the familiar features of 
revolution in China are there, though not comparable 
with rebellions such as that of the Taipings; but so 
far foreigners have been protected, and there is no 
doubt that they will be safe so long as the reform 
leaders can control their following. 

Any attempt to bring the history of the revolution 
up to date would be useless. It is only possible to 
describe the issues in broad outline. At present the 



Manchus demand the submission of their position 
to the will of a National Assembly. The reform 
party, whose headquarters are at Nanking, do not 
trust such an assembly, as is not unnatural. Few of 
them would adventure themselves in Peking, where 
a price is still on the heads of some. Yuan stands 
between the dynasty and the Republicans, and it is 
still possible that he will form the bridge between the 
old and the new order by becoming President of the 
republic. But Dr. Sun and his followers appear to 
distrust the viceroy; and, again, they cannot fail to 
remember that he betrayed the reform movement 
in 1898, and that till quite recently he has thrown 
his weight into the balance for a limited Manchu 
monarchy. The contest for the leadership between 
Yuan Shih-kai and Sun Yat Sen is unequal in some 
respects. The first is a high official, with great ad- 
ministrative experience, who raised and organized an 
army — the first real modern army in China — and who 
commands, moreover, the attention and respect of 
the foreign legations and press. Dr. Sun is a scholar, 
a scientist, and therefore likely to be esteemed by his 
countrymen. He has obviously imagination, devo- 
tion, and courage. He is trusted by young China, 
but he has neither military nor administrative experi- 
ence, nor the prestige of official rank. In compelling 
Yuan to acquiesce in the abdication of the Manchus 
(even although the viceroy may again change his 
mind) he has won the first rubber. In justice to 
Dr. Sun it must be said that he appears to be devoid 
of personal ambition, and has expressed his willing- 
ness to yield to Yuan his place as leader. But he 
has to reckon with his followers. 



Whether or no the republican form of government 
is suited to China is a question which only time can 
answer. China already possesses the essentials of 
a democratic government, but (as is explained in 
other chapters) she has also, superimposed, a highly 
centralized system, which unites her parts to a single 
head. No people on earth are, in all probability, less 
likely to trouble about the label worn by their central 
government, but if the new republic is an autocracy 
in everything but name it will come into collision with 
the newly formed and ambitious provincial assem- 
blies. The question of state rights and federal rights 
will be the more difficult to settle because under the 
old regime the provincial treasuries were perfectly 
independent so long as they transmitted a fixed sum 
to Peking. Moreover, in the very incomplete and 
chaotic state of the national army the "martial law" 
period would be impossible for a central government 
to enforce. 

The possibility of a split in China has to be faced. 
So far as it was developed to me by Dr. Sun there was 
nothing in the Republican scheme to adequately re- 
place the Throne and dynasty as the focus of Chinese 
social and political life. The Emperor does not 
occupy the semi-divine position of his neighbor in 
Japan, but he does occupy a position as the apex of 
the social and political structure — as the Son of 
Heaven, and therefore the intermediary between his 
people and the Great Unseen, to which no popularly 
elected President can be elevated. The Emperor of 
Japan has magnified and elevated his office; the 
Manchu dynasty have brought theirs into contempt. 
Probably it must go, and as the idea of reviving a 



native Chinese dynasty — there are peasant repre- 
sentatives of the Mings to be found, or the descend- 
ants of Confucius — does not seem to appeal to the 
Chinese imagination, there seems no ahemative save 
a repubHc. The danger is that there may be more 
than one — China has spHt several times before, and 
if the strong sectional spirit which has been discerned 
in the recent movement continues it is likely that she 
will split again. 

One change which is almost inevitable, sooner or 
later, is a change in the capital. Peking, lying in the 
extreme north, is further exposed by the Russo- 
Japanese control of Manchuria, the complete posses- 
sion of Korea by Japan, and the threatened Russian 
"protection" of seceding Mongolia. An adminis- 
trative center nearer the heart of China, and par- 
ticularly its great artery, the Yangtze, will become 
imperative, and in the writer's opinion should help to 
secure any new Chinese government from the pres- 
sure which the geographical position of Peking has 
hitherto enabled certain foreign Powers to bring to 
bear in emergencies. 

Long ago General Gordon gave the Chinese advice 
which they have never forgotten — ' * Move your queen 
bee to Nanking" — and as a historical fact Peking is a 
Mongol, and not a Chinese, capital. 

Whither, China? is indeed the vital question of the 
day, for upon the answer depends the fate of nearly 
one-fourth of the world's population. What the 
caliber of these people is may be partially judged by 
readers of this book. What their future may be 
under wise and prudent guidance no one can estimate. 
For Great Britain and the United States, who have 



no territorial ambitions in the Far East, the awaken- 
ing of China is of supreme interest on account of its 
reflex action on themselves. Their commercial pol- 
icy must be profoundly affected by the opening of so 
great and populous a country to modern influences, 
and their foreign policy cannot leave out of account 
the future strength and possible tendencies of the 
awakened giant. But for one who visited China, 
studied her and her people, and succumbed to her 
fascination at a time when she was still little known 
in Europe and America, the predominant feeling at 
this moment is one of satisfaction that her people are 
strong enough at last to throw off the Manchu blight, 
and of hope that their sterling and virile qualities 
and admirable powers of organization will carry 
them through the necessary initial disorders toward 
the haven of a stable and respectable government. 




Railways built or being built with foreign capital are: 

The Chinese Eastern Railway, about i,ioo miles; 

Russian control. 
The South Manchurian Railway, about 803 miles; 

Japanese control (main line, 437; Mukden- 

Antung, 189; branches, 177). 

These are the Manchurian lines, and are working. 

Imperial Railways of North China (Peking-Mukden), 
601 miles (mainline, 522; branches, 79); British 
and Chinese money; running. 

Peking-Hankau Railway, about 755 miles; Franco- 
Belgian money; running, and redeemed by China, 
1908; branches, 60. 

Tientsin-Pukau Railway, about 635 miles; Anglo- 
German money; in construction; nearly com- 
pleted except the Yellow River bridge. 

Shantung Railway, 256 miles; opened 1904; branch, 
28; German. 

Szechuan-Hankau Railway, about 800 miles. 
Hankau-Canton Railway, about 750 miles. 

These lines are provided for under the so-called 
"Four Nation Contract" (England, France, 
Germany, and United States) negotiated in 
191 1, which has been the subject of general 
protest, and ostensibly the pretext for the 


present revolution. (Work not begun; under 

Taokau-Tsinghuai Railway, about 96 miles; British 
capital, redeemed by issue of bonds, 1905. 

Shanst Railway, 151 miles; Belgian. 

Kaifeng-Honan Railway, 140 miles; opened 1908; 

Shanghai-Nanking Railway, 193 miles; British money . 
Canton-Kaulun Railway, about no miles; British 

Both now open to traffic. 

Yunnan Railway, about 300 miles; open; capital 

and control French. 
—Total 6,818 miles. 

Railways built and building with Chinese capital and 
by Chinese engineers (though not entirely so) are roughly 
as follows: 

Peking-Kalgan Frontier Railway, about 360 miles; 
124 miles open to Kalgan; balance under con- 

Sunning Railway, 55 miles. 

Swatau-Chaochau, about 24 miles. 

Tungkwan-Honan fu Railway, about 166 miles; 
under construction. 

Kiang-si Railway, about 80 miles; under construc- 
tion; Japanese engineers. 

Anhui Railway, about 150 miles; under construction. 

Chekiang-Kiangsu Railway, about 220 miles; Anglo- 
Chinese capital; work suspended. 

Fukien Railway, about 33 miles. 

And a few minor lines, about 100 miles; under con- 
— Total, 1,188 miles. 



In addition, there are about 3,000 miles of railway, 
projected to be "China built," but, as noted already, 
many of the schemes are in abeyance. 

The statement shows a total of 8,006 miles built or 
building, but the data obtainable are in some cases con- 
flicting, and the figures are only given as approximate. 

According to M. E. de Laboulaye (Les Chemins de fer 
de Chine, 191 1) the simi which China will have to dis- 
burse in order to repurchase existing lines is no less than 
I milliard 407 millions of francs (say, £56,280,000), or 
more than one-third of her total exterior debt. In 
tabular form details are given from which the following 
is taken, showing the share of the different countries 


France 205,000,000 

France and Belgium. 41,000,000 

France, Britain, ) 

Germany, U.S.A. \ 150,000,000 

Britain 165,000,000 

Germany ,.. 66,138,000 

Germany and Britain 200,000,000 

Japan 231,882,000 (approximate) ) Manchurian 

Russia 348,000,000 " ) Railways. 

Total 1,407,020,000 (say, £56,280,000) 

Two-thirds of the railway network, in the opinion of 
M. de Labotilaye, belong to foreigners — one-third to 
Russia and Japan, and the other third to France, Ger- 
many, Britain, Belgium, and the United States. 



Boy, a male personal attendant or general servant. 
Cangue, or "wooden collar," the Chinese form of pillory, 

in which the neck and hands are confined. 
Cask, the Chinese copper coin, with a square hole in the 

center, used for stringing. 
Cathay, the medieval name for China. 
Cattie, 1% lbs. 
ChifUy a prefect. 

Chihtai, governor - general, usually superintending the 

affairs of two provinces. 
Chin Chin, commonly supposed to be a corruption of the 

Chinese soimds Ching Ching, now generally used by 

Europeans as a form of greeting. 
Chop, a mark; term generally applied to a trade-mark 

and to a stamped official document. 
Comprador, the chief Chinese employee in a foreign firm ; 

the middle-man between the firm and the Chinese. 
Coolie, a laborer or porter. 
Fan Kwei, ''foreign devil," foreigner. 
Fan tai, provincial treasurer. 

Feng shui, ''wind and water," a system of geomancy. 

Fu, a prefecture. 

Futai, a governor of a province. 

Ginseng, a root, greatly prized by the Chinese for medici- 
nal purposes ; found in Manchuria and imported from 

Godown, a place for storing goods. 

Haikwan, Chinese maritime customs. 

Hanlin, the National Academy of Peking, admission to 



which is gained by competitive examination, con- 
ferring great distinction on those who are successful. 
Ho, a river. 

Hong, a mercantile firm, a building used as an office. 
Hoppo, an official, usually a Palace favorite, appointed to 

certain provinces as head of the native maritime 

Hsiangy a village. 
Hsien, a district. 
Hu, a lake. 

Huty a club or association. 
Hui Hui, SL Mohammedan. 
Kiang, sl river. 
Kiao, a sect. 

Kitai, the Russian name for China. 

Kotow, literally "hitting the head on the ground," an act 

of prostration form.erly demanded by the Chinese 

from foreign envoys. 
Lamas, the Buddhist priests of Tibet, who live together 

in lamaseries. 
Li, a Chinese mile, K of an English mile. 
Likin, an inland tax, well known from its being imposed 

on foreign goods in transit. 
Ling, a hill, peak, a pass. 

Lingchi, the punishment of "slicing to death," infficted 

on parricides and others. 
Loess, called by the Chinese hwang-tu, sl brownish-yellow 

earth, the chief physical characteristic of northern 


Loti Shui, a terminal tax, imposed on goods arriving at 
their destination. 

Mafu, horse-boy or groom. 

Mandarin, a Chinese official. 

Miaotzu, the aborigines of certain provinces. 

Pailau, commemorative gateway or arch. 

Peking Gazette, the official gazette published at the cap- 

Picul, 133 lbs. 

Pu, a board of government. 



Red Book, a quarterly publication containing the names, 

titles, salaries, etc., of all officials. 
Samshu, Chinese spirits, distilled from rice or millet. 
Shan, SL mountain. 
Sheng, a province. 

Shihye, a secretary — a great power in all y aniens. 
Squeeze, generic term for extortion, official and other- 

Sycee, ingots of silver. 

Ta Tsing Kwo, great pure kingdom" — the Empire of 
China, the Manchu dynasty having been known as 
the Ta Tsing, or "great pure" d3niasty. 

Tael, 1% ounces of silver in weight; now about 35. ^d. 
in value. 

Tao, a circuit or group of departments. 

Taotai, an intendant of circuit. 

Tientzu, "Son of Heaven," the Emperor. 

Tsung Tu, governor-general, usually superintending the 
affairs of two provinces. 

Tsungli Yamen, the^bureau at the capital which was sup- 
posed to deal with foreign affairs, replaced by the 
Wai wu-pu. 

Yamen, an official residence. 





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Administration and Govern- 
ment, Chap. III. 
civil, 56. 

conception of, 65. 
precautions against miscon- 
duct, 66. 
theory and practice, 68. 
Alcock, Sir Rutherford, on Peking 

Gazette, 108. 
"Altruism., Absence of," Arthur 

H. Smith, 105. 
Ancestor- worship, 39. 
Anglo- Japanese Alliances of 1905 

and 191 1, 274. 
Arabs, visits to China, 138. 
Army, Abb6 Hue, material for, 

Assembly, provincial, 61. 
Association, powers of, 99. 

Thief Guild, 102. 

variety of, 100. 

Barber, Colborne, Chinese roads, 

Boxer rising of 1900, 168. 
Bredon, Sir R., on Imperial 

Revenue, 84. 
Bretschneider on Chinese me- 
dieval travelers, 141. 
Britain, intercourse, 152, etc. 

war with China, 1856, 162. 
Buddhism, 41. 

from China to India, 140. 
Burlingame, Anson, Embassy 
to Western countries, 193, 

Mission from China, 163. 
Burma Convention of 1897, 163. 


Canada, immigration policy, 265. 

Capital of China, Gordon's opin- 
ion, 246. 

Catholics, policy of, 47. 

Cecil, Rev. Lord W. G., scheme 
for Central University, 136. 

Censorate, 67. 

Central government, character 
of, 69. 

Chang Chih Tung, educational 

reformer, 130. 
Chi fu Convention, 163. 
China and the Powers, Chap. 


Asiatic immigration, 261, etc. 

attitude of Japan, 273, 274. 

of the dominions, 269. 

Australia and Asiatic exclu- 
sion, 270. 

British policy, 257. 

France, policy of, 255, etc. 

French and British policy, 258. 

intercourse between India and 
China, 256. 

Tibet, 254. 

treaties since 1898, 251, etc. 

United States, 260, etc. 
China and Religion, Chap. II. 
"China for the Chinese," 21. 
China — Whither? Conclusion, 

Chap. XIII. 
Chinese People, Chap. I. 

characteristics in business, 26. 

commercial dealings, 15. 

democracy. Chap. IV. 

endurance, 34. 

gratitude, 31. 

luck, 17. 


Chinese People 

private and public life, 19. 
soldiers, 24. 
■Uie family idea, 18. 
Christianity, Christian civiliza- 
tion, 50. 
claim of Christian Bishop, 

dissensions among Jesuits, Do- 
minicans, and Franciscans, 

France, missionary propa- 
ganda, 43. 
German attitude, 44. 
Japan and, 51. 
Lazarists, 43. 
legal status of, 45. 
Nestorian, 42. 

policy of Catholics and Protes- 
tants, 47. 

prospects of, 48. 

treaty of 1858, 43. 

Wensiang's circidar, 45. 
Civil administration, 56. 
Coal, chief coal-fields, 224, etc. 

native use of, 223. 
Commercial genius, 26, etc. 
Commercial press, 10, 128. 
Communications, Chap. XI. 

central Asian trade route, 242. 

famine time, 244. 

Grand Canal, 238, etc. 

highroads from Peking, 242. 

railways, 247, etc. 

steam navigation, 247. 
Confucius, 39, 92. 
Courage, 23. 
Currency, 85. 

Curzon, Lord, on "Open Door," 

Democracy, Chinese, Chap. IV. 

power of the people, 93. 
Diplomatic Intercourse, Chap. 

Dominicans, Jesuits, and Fran- 
ciscans, 42. 

Doolittle, Justus, "Beggars' As- 
sociation," 2, loi, 102. 

East India Company, inter- 
course with, 153. 
Economic Problem, Chap. X. 
capacity for manufactures and 

commerce, 234. 
Chinese labor, 233, etc. 
coal, 223, etc. 

copper, tin, antimony, 228, 

cotton spinning and weaving 
mills, 231. 

emigration, 234, etc. 

foreign trade, 235. 

German coal-fields in Shan- 
tung, 228. 

iron ores, 226. 

Japanese enterprise, 259. 

mineral deposits, 222. 

opium, 232. 

salt, coast evaporation and 

brine-wells, 229. 
silk, 231. 
soya-bean, 230. 
tea, 230. 
tobacco, 231. 
wool industry, 230. 
zones, 222. 
Education: Chinese students in 

Japan, 129; influence, 135; 

in U. S. A. and U. K., 135. 
commercial press, 128. 
Confucian works, neglect, 131. 
edict of Emperor in 1896, 128. 
foreign-trained students, 127, 


future of, 136. 
new movement, 132, etc. 
old and new, 127, etc. 
Embassy, foreign countries, first 

to, 162. 
Emigration, 234, 261. 

Japanese attitude toward, 266, 

Emperor, position of, 55. 
Empress-Dowager, the late, 76, 

Endurance, 34. 

Englishman in China, author of, 
on missionaries, 52. 



Examinations, literary, 63. 
Extra- territoriality, 45. 

Family, master key to Chinese 
polity, 51. 

system, 58. 
Famines, 244, etc. 
Finance, budget, 293. 

loans, 244. 
Foreign Relations, Chap. VII. 

trade, 236. 
France, Franco-Chinese War, 

intercourse of, 149, etc. 

missionary propaganda, 43. 
Franciscan missions, 141. 
Franciscans, Jesuits, and Do- 
minicans, 42. 
Fu tai, 60. 

Geographic Question, Chap. 

Aborigines, 218. 
climate, 219. 
features, 220. 

"Great Plain" of north China, 

islands, 215. 
loess formation, 217. 
mountain system, 203. 
river system, 204, etc. 
the eighteen provinces, 202, 


Wei basin, Richthofen on, 209; 
Yangtze, 205. 
Germany, Catholic priests, 44. 

relations with, 151, etc. 

treaty of 1861, 44. 
Giles, H. A., 2, 35. 
Gordon on Chinese capital, 246. 

on Chinese soldier, 24. 
Government, 91. 
Government and Administration, 

Chap. III. 
Governors, governors-general, 

powers of, 62. 
Grand Canal, 238, etc. 
Gratitude, 31. 
Guilds, 99. 

Hart, Sir R., 82, 84, 189. 
Hoang ho, 206. 
Holland, intercourse of, 148. 
Honan, coal-field, 226. 
Hongkong: Crown colony, 162. 

University, 135. 
Hue, Abbe: army and navy, 24; 
associations, 99 ; central gov- 
ernment, 57. 

Chinese placards, 108. 

trader, 26. 

Manchu policy, 144. 

Throne, 91. 

Ignatieff, Manchu - Tartary 

coast, 147. 
Imperial maritime customs, 83, 

structure, 55. 
Islam, 41. 

Jamieson, G., on land tax, 83. 

on provincial contributions, 79. 
Japan, Christian civilization, 51. 

policy, 273. 

relations, 165, etc. 
Jesuits, Dominicans, and Fran- 
ciscans, dissensions, 42. 
Jewish colony, 142. 
Johnston, R. F., 3. 

Kaiping, first coal-field, 226. 
Kang-hi, abolishes religious free- 
dom, 42. 

Labor, character of, 233, etc. 

Land tax, 81. 

Lao-tsz, 39, 52. 

Lay, Horatio, 189. 

Li Hung Chang, 75, 147, 196, 197. 

Likin, 83. 

Loans, foreign, 294. 

Lockhart, Sir Stewart, Chinese 

quotations, 117. 
Loess formation, north China, 

217, etc. 

Mackay Treaty, 166. 
Manchu policy, 143, 144. 



Manchuria, Russian occupation, 

Marco Polo, coal, 223. 

travels, 143. 
Mayers, central government, 70. 
Meadows, right of rebellion, 94. 
Michie, A., Chinese people, 90. 
Military sentiment, 22. 
Mills, cotton, 232. 
Missionaries, 42, etc. 

legal status, 45. 

Michie, A., 52. 
Mohammedans, 41. 
Mongolia, Russian policy, 148. 
Morse, H. B., postal system, 86. 
Muravieff, Amur province, 147. 

Native Press, Chap. V. 

establishment of, iii. 

future, 125. 

in war-time, 120. 
Navy board in 1890, 71. 

Hue on material, 24. 
Nestorian Christians, 42, 140. 
New Learning, The, Chap. VI. 
Nicolo di Conti travels, 142. 

Odoric, 141. 

Official: censorate check, 67; 

expectants, 114. 
Officials, laborious life, 72. 

multifarious duties, 64. 

payment, 78. 
Opium, 162, 233. 

Palmerston policy, 191, 252. 

Pei ho, 206. 

Peking Gazette, 107. 

Pliny, notices of Seres, 139. 

Policy, Chinese, 195, etc. 

Population, 207, 223. 

Porter, R. P., Japanese cotton 

export, 259. 
Portsmouth Treaty, 148. 
Portugal, intercourse of, 149. 
Postal Department, 86. 
Protestants, policy of, 47. 
Provinces, autonomy, 61. 
Ptolemy, notices of Seres, 139. 

Railways, 247, etc., App. I. 
Rebellions, 94, etc. 
Recluse, Chinese nomenclature, 

Religion, Chap. II. 

Republican government. Sun Yat 

Sen's scheme, 68. 
Revenue, 79, 81, App. III. 
Revolutions, classic ground of, 94. 
Richthofen, 92, 221, etc. 
Roads, 240. 

Rockhill, estimate of population, 

Russia, intercourse, 145, etc. 
policy, 147, 252. 

Sai.t tax, 83. 
Secret societies, 96. 
Sects, 98. 

Self-sacrifice, 105, 106. 

Seres, notices by Ptolemy and 

Pliny, 139. 
Shansi, greatest coal-field, 225. 
Shen Pao, 118, 119. 
Shen-tao, 40. 
Si Kiang, 206. 
Silk, 231. 

Simon, M. : economic future, 22 1 ; 
family system, 58. 

Smith, Arthur H., 2, 35, 105. 

Soldiers' qualities, 24. 

Spain, intercourse, 149. 

Squeeze, official, 78. 

Stein, Dr. Aurel, 141. 

Sun Yat Sen, Dr., scheme of re- 
publican government, 68, 
106, 135. 

Tao tai, 60. 
Tea, 230. 

Throne, feeling for, 21. 
Tibet, 163, 254. 
Tientsin Treaty of i860, 162. 
Trade, superintendence of, 71. 
Treaty, 1858, 43. 
Tribute, 83. 
TsungH Yam§n, 70, 184. 
Turkestan, Chinese, Russian ac- 
tion, 148. 



United States, Chinese stu- 
dents in, 135. 
education, 129. 
relations, 170, etc. 
scholarships by universities, 

Universities: Chinese, Peking, 
130; Shansi, 130; Central 
University, 136. 

Wai-wu-pu, the old Tsungli Ya- 
m6n, 71. 

Weights and measures, 86, 
W^nsiang, 45, 182. 
Wolseley, Lord, 24. 

Yangtze, 205. 
Yuan Shih-kai, 75, 130. 
Yule, Sir H., Arab travelers, 

China appellations of, 138. 
European intercourse, 142, 
Marco Polo's Seres, 139. 
Odoric, 141. 




DS Colquhoun, Archibald Ross 

709 China in transformation